Hated Covid tourist forms will be ditched before Easter holidays

Hated Covid tourist forms will be ditched before Easter holidays in major boost for British travellers

  • Health Secretary Sajid Javid has backed ditching Covid passenger travel forms 
  • The Government wants the forms ditched before the big Easter getaway 
  • Currently, passengers have to fill in a form online before returning to the UK
  • Many passengers dislike having to fill in a form before returning from holiday  

Controversial Covid foreign travel forms look set to be ditched by Easter after Health Secretary Sajid Javid backed the move.

Government sources said Mr Javid was happy to see the passenger locator form (PLF) scrapped in the next few weeks.

The move should pave the way for the much-disliked form, which travellers have to complete before returning to the UK, to be abolished in time for the Easter school holidays. It comes after reports only last week that Mr Javid’s Health Department was slowing down moves to remove the Covid-related bureaucracy.

Sources closed to Mr Javid warned last night that the decision was not down to the Health Secretary alone. But his views emerged just days after Boris Johnson confirmed that the requirement to fill in the complicated form would be reviewed by Easter.

The government is planning to scrap the Passenger Locator Form which is required for all people travelling into the UK as part of the Covid-19 regulations which have been loosened

The Government hopes the form, which was disliked by passengers, should be scrapped by Easter

Scrapping the forms, seen as drag on British holiday firms as well as a bureaucratic nightmare for travellers, would be hugely welcomed by the industry.

Only last week, Tory MP Huw Merriman, chairman of the Commons transport committee, urged Boris Johnson to ‘give the travel industry a much-needed shot in the arm’ by getting rid of the PLF by Easter.

Allies of Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he was also fully behind abolishing the forms, saying: ‘Shapps is eager to have them ditched – ideally, by the Easter break.’

But they suggested there was ‘bureaucratic inertia’ – suggesting the Home Office ‘like them because they like to keep tabs’.

However, Home Office sources said last night that they expected the forms to be scrapped.

Last night, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, a member of the transport committee, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Now that people can freely wander round the UK with Covid, the passenger locator form is totally redundant. It should be scrapped immediately as it’s holding back the recovery in our travel and transport sectors compared with other countries. The UK should do what most other European countries are now doing, which is simply check vaccine or test status at check-in without the need to fill it this over-complicated Orwellian form.’ 

Last night, a spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) said: ‘Given the relaxation of domestic Covid measures, we believe all Covid-related restrictions on international travel should be removed unless they serve a clear public health objective.

‘While recent simplifications of the PLF have helped, the UK’s system for collecting passenger data is much more complex than that used by many other countries. It’s time to get people travelling again.’

Last night a Government spokesman said ‘no decisions have been taken’ on scrapping PLFs, adding: ‘We have already simplified the forms as part of our efforts to make travel easier.

‘We will keep all measures under review and will be updating our contingency plans to fight any new variants ahead of Easter.’

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