Vale of Clwyd MP Dr James Davies has welcomed the Welsh Government’s u-turn on Covid-19 PCR charges for Welsh residents returning from travel abroad, but regrets that it has come too late for thousands of families who were unable to go abroad over the summer holidays because of the extortionate charges.
The Welsh Government announced on Sunday that foreign travellers from Wales can use a wider choice of Covid testing firms from 21 September.
Welsh residents can currently only use more expensive NHS tests - except in exceptional circumstances - in a stance that had been criticised by Conservative politicians and members of the public.
James is therefore pleased that from next week Welsh travellers will be able to access cheaper tests, but said that many people, particularly families who need to purchase multiple tests, will be annoyed that the changes were not made in time for them to get away in the six week school break.
“It is grossly unfair that residents of Wales travelling abroad currently have to pay so much more for a PCR test than those returning to other parts of the UK and I fully appreciate why so many have been unhappy about this.
“I know that some of my constituents did not get away this summer because they simply could not afford to pay the substantial charges for PCR tests. The policy also impacted on the travel industry.
“It is therefore great news that people in Wales will soon been able to access cheaper PCR tests. However, I regret that it is too late for all those who wanted to get away when the children were off school in the summer, but couldn’t because of the costs involved.
“The Welsh Government should have followed the UK Government’s lead on this from the get go. Instead, the First Minister suggested that the choice of Covid testing that could be used by Welsh travellers was limited because he didn’t want people to travel abroad, stating in Cardiff Bay when challenged on the matter, “The advice of the Welsh Government is clear to people: don't travel abroad. I don't intend to divert the activities of my officials into making it easier for people to do something that the Welsh Government so clearly thinks is unadvisable.”
“No British citizen should be penalised because of where they live within our country.”