Fully vaccinated passengers from the US should be given the same quarantine exemptions as British citizens returning home in a bid to revive transatlantic trade, a group of business leaders have urged Boris Johnson.
Sky News has seen a letter signed by trade associations including the CBI, Make UK and the British Chambers of Commerce which expresses frustration at the continued challenge facing British businesses.
The letter, which was sent on Tuesday, reflects corporate anger at the confusion caused by the government’s recent approach to the COVID-19 crisis.
The so-called ‘pingdemic’ caused by the NHS Test and Trace app has left companies in labour-intensive industries facing shortages of personnel and stoked fears that the UK’s economic recovery will be hampered.
In their letter to Mr Johnson, the business groups said the government should add countries to the UK’s green list – which does not require any period of quarantine – as soon as it was safe to do so.
“If this action is taken, albeit at the last possible minute, this government will have shown decisive action supporting businesses across the country, protecting thousands of jobs reliant on international travel and setting Britain on the right footing to flourish post-lockdown,” the letter said.
The groups lamented the fact that the vaccine status of visitors from the EU and US “remains unrecognised, despite the fact that many of these passengers will have been given the same vaccines being administered here in the UK”.
“Restarting travel for these groups as soon as it is safe to do so will be vital for kickstarting transatlantic trade and failure to do so quickly will see Europe continue to capitalise on this country’s inaction,” they added.
Their intervention came ahead of the end of the Treasury’s furlough scheme, with associations warning that businesses reliant on international travel “simply cannot survive a second lost summer”.
The groups’ letter was copied to cabinet ministers including Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, and Rishi Sunak, the chancellor.