HEALTHCARE and hospitality workers could be forced to pay extra tax if they employers pay for coronavirus tests.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he would “very quickly” review new guidance saying employees’ income tax could go up if their employers pay for testing to keep workplaces safe from coronavirus.
Chair of the Treasury Committee Tory MP Mel Stride wrote to Mr Sunak yesterday demanding an explanation for what would amount to tax hikes for staff and warning it could deter staff from being tested
Mr Stride said in his letter: “As you know testing for COVID-19 is an essential precaution and supports contact tracing systems and it is vital to carry out as much testing as possible to ensure we can return to a normal economy.
“I think this policy risks deterring workers from taking employer sponsored tests.
“Many of those affected will be in front line jobs in hospitals and other settings, and i seems wrong that a disproportionate tax burden should fall on them at this time.”
Mr Sunak told the House of Commons this morning he would “look into” the issue “very quickly”.
Mr Stride said forcing workers to pay extra tax to be testing is. “perverse incentive”.
The Government has made its contact tracing programme the centrepiece of its fight against coronavirus while allowing the economy to reopen.
But Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said last month his biggest worry was people not getting tested.
He said getting tested was “huge service” to all of Britain and it was essential anyone with symptoms get out of circulation to break the chain of submission.
People who work in customer facing jobs are most likely to get sick with coronavirus – and have a severe case – so regular testing of staff is crucial to stop outbreaks.
The threat of rising taxes for those getting tested at work comes as the PM vowed not to raise tax, VAT or National Insurance.
Mr Sunak is also expected to cut stamp duty from tomorrow as he unveils a post-lockdown plan to reboot the economy.