Joint statement from Helena Windsor, Health Spokesman and Richard Elvin, Business Spokesman
We were appalled when HMRC published new rules on Monday, stating that COVID-19 tests funded by an employer would be treated as a benefit in kind, so we are pleased to learn that Chancellor, Rishi Sunak has confirmed that these vital tests will be exempt. Regular COVID-19 tests are essential to protect workers who have close contact with the public, their clients and customers.
Many of these employees will be on minimum pay or just above. Regular weekly tests would have resulted in a serious reduction in their income. Additionally, these tests are essential for business continuity when staff, or their household members, develop symptoms that could be COVID-19 but could also be a common cold.
Businesses, already hit badly by the pandemic, cannot remain viable if staff are constantly entering fourteen days of isolation every time their child catches a cold.
We urge the Chancellor to go further and remove private health subscriptions for employees from benefit in kind tax. The NHS has a huge backlog of diagnostic tests and treatment for health conditions other than COVID-19 as well as facing costs for years to come arising from post Coronavirus complications. The more options British people have to meet their health needs, the better for them and the NHS.