Sadiq Khan is leading calls from London businesses to remove all UK border restrictions in a relaxation of his previously tough stance on Covid restrictions.
The mayor of London fears the capital will continue to fall behind its EU rivals unless the government allows “no restrictions, no tests and no passenger tracking forms” on arrivals from from low-risk countries.
Mr Khan has clashed with Boris Johnson on several occasions over the government’s approach to the pandemic.
At the start of the crisis, he called for mandatory masks despite ministers struggling to secure supplies of PPE.
When the government made face covering a personal choice on public transport in July this year, the mayor of London continued to make it mandatory on the capital’s underground, buses and railways.
In January, he urged the Prime Minister to “take control” and impose tougher restrictions on people entering the UK.
With the backing of Burberry Chief Financial Officer Julie Brown, City Grand Mayor Sir Adrian Montague and Sir Peter Rogers, one of Mr Johnson’s former advisers, Mr Khan said the borders must reopen completely to allow the economy to rebound as quickly as possible.
In a letter to Grant Shapps, coordinated by lobby group London First, the signatories said: âThe UK aviation market remains at half of its 2019 level, our European competitors like Spain, Italy and France, have recovered to greater pre-Covid levels.
âIn normal times, aviation alone directly contributes Â£ 22 billion annually to the economy, and its impact is also apparent on the economy at large – inbound tourism accounts for over 7% of the economy. economy, while our world-class universities receive Â£ 6.9 billion each. year of international students.
âThe government should create a real green list for fully vaccinated travelers, with travel from countries and regions with significantly lower Covid-19 rates than in the UK, with well vaccinated populations and no known variants of concern, treated the same as domestic travel – without restrictions, without testing and without a passenger locator form. “
Ministers were also urged to allow the use of the NHS testing capacity to travel abroad and to implore the government to be more transparent in its decision-making regarding its Covid categorization of countries.