Thursday 8 July 2021 / 4:04 PM Jim McMahon / Transport

Labour demands government release full data behind traffic light travel system and take action on tests after amber list announcement

Labour has written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to demand the Government publishes the full data behind its traffic light system for international travel, after it was announced those with double jabs would no longer have to quarantine from amber list countries.

Shadow Transport Secretary Jim McMahon has also urged ministers to investigate the possibility of easing the financial burden of PCR tests – which can cost up to £100 per person – on people who want to travel but may be struggling financially, by freeing up spare capacity at NHS sites.

In the Commons on Thursday, the Transport Secretary claimed £10 tests were available – but according to the Government’s approved list of providers, were only available at walk-in test centres in Bradford and have since been removed from the list.

Labour had previously called on ministers to properly protect our borders against Covid by scrapping the confusing ‘amber list’ and to properly support the aviation sector, which has already seen hundreds of thousands of jobs lost.

Last week the Government claimed country-by-country assessment data behind its decision to add locations to either the red, green or amber list had already been made publicly available.

But critical information is missing from documents on the Government’s official website, with ‘no data’ held on passenger and new variant testing for some countries moved from the amber list to green.

McMahon said: There is no data published for most EU countries, the US or Canada – all essential for UK travel and tourism. There is no reference to Pakistan, Bangladesh or India and the Government has been far from clear on its decision to delay adding India to the red list at the same time as the former – which exposed us to hundreds of thousands of cases per day of the ‘Johnson variant’.

“Critically, there is no published criteria or direction of travel of Covid cases in individual countries, which is vital in allowing people to make an informed choice about travel, particularly now the Government has effectively scrapped the amber list for those who are fully vaccinated.”

In his letter to the Transport Secretary, McMahon again asks for the full data to be made public and for questions on the cost of PCR tests, international vaccine passports and support for the aviation sector to be answered.

The letter reads: “I requested that the data for every country be published so that travellers and the industry could forward plan and know the direction of travel for each country. Simply publishing the data for a limited number of countries after you’ve made a decision isn’t helpful.

“It’s clear that Government must hold the data informing traffic light risk assessments for each country, but is choosing to only publish an extremely limited selection. Could you explain why that is, and when will you finally publish – or direct the JBC to publish – the full data for country, which you implied had already been done?”