Making COVID testing more affordable

The Testing For All mission is to make testing for COVID-19 more assessable and affordable. To this end we introduced home antibody testing at £39.00 when the prevailing market rate was £130.00 and Day 2 and Day 8 testing for £105.oo when the lowest alternative was £170.00 and the average price was £220.00. The supply chain that undertakes private PCR testing has become much more efficient over the last 3 months, with the cost per test falling dramatically, however testing in the UK remains expensive compared to other countries. There are a few reasons for this:

  • UK is an highly developed economy and an expensive place to do any business
  • The PCR testing standard here is higher than most countries (greater than 99% positive and negative accuracy, compared to US and global standard of 97%)
  • All strong PCR positives are required to have the viral variant identified through genetic sequencing
  • VAT us charged on COVID tests in the UK increasing the cost by %16.5 compared to European countries

 What is the story in Europe?

On 7th December 2020 the council of the EU greenlighted member states to exempt or reduce the rate of VAT on covid testing and vaccines. This is to continue until 21 December 2022. Most member states including France, Spain and Germany have adopted this principle.

 What is the correct outcome?

The correct outcome would be for all UK testing services to be “zero rated” for VAT until any form of mandatory private testing is over. This would enable test providers such as Testing For All to reclaim VAT on our inputs (cost of manufacturing testing kits, shipping, the laboratory tests etc), yet not charge VAT to the consumer. This would reduce the cost of our Day 2 PCR test from £48.00 to £40.00, which would be an impressive price point for the highest global standard of laboratory based test that you could take from the comfort of your own home.

On 23rd August 2021 HMRC finally clarified the highly complex rules that describes the “as is” situation for VAT, which is very grey. Testing For All contracted extensive VAT consultation in 2020 to understand if VAT must be charged on COVID testing, and the picture has changed over the year through the Coronavirus 2020 legislation essentially removing COVID testing from state regulation. COVID testing is now accredited by UKAS meaning that in most cases it cannot be exempted from VAT, and must be standard rated. Our belief is that this is not the correct position.

What can you do about it?

The best outcome is to lobby about the cost of testing, and to petition the government to zero rate COVID testing and vaccination related activity until the end of the pandemic.

If you are a UK resident, please Sign the Petition