Sunak urges Johnson to ease up on travel restrictions

The Chancellor has warned Boris Johnson that the UK’s travel restrictions are “out of step” with its international rivals as he pushes for holiday rules to be relaxed.

Rishi Sunak has written to the Prime Minister calling for further relaxing of travel restrictions, saying they are damaging the economy, and particuarly the travel and tourism industries. 

According to the Sunday Times, Mr Sunak has told Mr Johnson that the UK’s rules are “out of step with our international competitors”.

The newspaper quotes a source, who it claims is familiar with the letter, as saying: “Rishi has called time on the travel restrictions.”

The report comes before ministers are due to meet next week to set the travel rules that will be in place for most of August.

Treasury sources did not deny Mr Sunak had written to his Downing Street neighbour but said the communication was not related to next week’s review.

The UK Government has faced criticism over changes to its border policy during the coronavirus pandemic, with France the latest to be irked after it was placed on a newly-created “amber-plus” list as part of the so-called traffic light system.

The fresh designation, in response to suggestions of growing cases of the Beta variant that was first discovered in South Africa, saw the quarantine exemption for the fully vaccinated scrapped, meaning those returning from France had to quarantine for 10 days.

Analysts have predicted that Spain could be the next country to go on the amber-plus list, in what would be a blow to British tourists given Spain is the UK’s most popular tourist destination.

There is speculation that France might be promoted back to amber when the Government updates the travel lists on August 5, restoring the ability for the double jabbed to skip self-isolation.

No 10 sources said it was too early to speculate on what changes might be made next week, with ministers yet to see the latest data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre, which assesses the risks presented by international travel.

They pointed to the decision to open up travel to those who are fully vaccinated coming from the US and European Union as an example of Mr Johnson’s own desire to see more open borders in Britain.

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992