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Furious MPs and tourism chiefs urge Rishi Sunak to axe VAT on holiday tests

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After 40 years of jet-setting for work, Ross Lovelock’s attempts at using the Covid testing regime is the worst travel experience he has had.

The former business executive yesterday says he has forked out £396 for tests that never happened.

Mr Lovelock, 66, last week travelled to the property he has owned in the Algarve for 20 years with his wife Susan, having both taken tests at a total cost of £170 before leaving. The couple were so impressed with ExpressTest at Heathrow that they chose to use it again on their return.

Before travelling back to the UK from Portugal, a green list country, on May 28, they paid £118 to be tested on the second day after their return. But when they tried to fill in their passenger locator form, a reference number supplied by the firm was rejected.

The couple felt obliged to book tests again, spending another £118. The same error occurred, which the Lovelocks tried to explain to BA staff when arriving for their flight from Faro. They had separately taken lateral flow tests costing £50 in Portugal.

Airline staff told them they would not be able to board so they booked tests with CityDoc Medical Ltd which were accepted, letting them fly home to Hindhead, Surrey.

But Mr Lovelock yesterday said that those tests had not yet arrived, calling the travel experience ‘perhaps the worst I’ve ever had’.

WE CAN’T SEE OUR NEW GRANDCHILD

For almost two years, Covid restrictions have left Konrad Tapp and his wife Carol unable to see their son Peter in Switzerland.

So after both received two coronavirus jabs, they believed that the birth of their granddaughter three weeks ago finally signalled their opportunity to make the trip.

The retired couple, pictured, were due to fly this Saturday but have had to cancel the trip under the weight of testing and quarantine rules.

Mr Tapp, 78, who served with the Royal Engineers, said: ‘As we’ve both been jabbed – we can only agree, firmly – that it’s a rip-off and someone, somewhere, is making a hell of a lot of money.’

The Tapps, from Darwen, Lancashire, were given permission to travel to Switzerland, which is on the amber list, on compassionate grounds after supplying documents to the country’s UK embassy. They booked tests costing £99 at Boots to be taken within three days of their departure and learned that a testing package costing £165 each had be carried out on their return.

Then, when Switzerland last week announced that UK arrivals would have to carry out a ten-day quarantine, the Tapps cancelled their trip.