Backlash over quarantine exemption for 'high-value' business travellers

'Letting their mates in quarantine-free': Backlash after Grant Shapps announces 'high-value' business travellers returning to England will be EXEMPT from self-isolation rules from Saturday Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tonight announced an easing of travel rules   'High-value' business travellers returning to England will not have to self-isolate Exemption from quarantine applies even if they come back from 'red list' country Sports stars and performing arts professionals will also be given a free pass 

By James Tapsfield, Political Editor For Mailonline

Published: 08:28 GMT, 4 December 2020 | Updated: 08:28 GMT, 4 December 2020

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Ministers were accused of letting their 'mates' off quarantine today after 'high-value' business travellers were handed an exemption from self-isolation rules.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said executives returning to England from 4am on Saturday will not have to go into quarantine even if they have come back from a country on the Government's 'red list'.   

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He insisted the move will allow 'more travel to support the economy and jobs' and will be subject to strict criteria. 

He also announced that 'certain performing arts professionals, TV production staff, journalists and recently signed elite sportspersons' will also be exempt from self-isolation from this weekend. 

However, the shift drew a furious response from Labour, with Mr Shapps' shadow Jim McMahon saying: 'One rule for those they consider ''high-value'' and another for everybody else.' 

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw tweeted: 'Is this a joke? What Is high value? 

'So the Government lets its rich mates in quarantine-free, while the rest of us trying to see our loved ones for Christmas have to quarantine for 5 days & then pay £150 for a test.'  

Ministers were accused of letting their 'mates' off quarantine today after 'high-value' business travellers were handed an exemption from self-isolation rules (file picture of Heathrow airport)

Ministers were accused of letting their 'mates' off quarantine today after 'high-value' business travellers were handed an exemption from self-isolation rules (file picture of Heathrow airport)

High-value business travellers, sports stars and performing arts professionals will be exempt from England’s quarantine requirement for international arrivals from Saturday, Grant Shapps (pictured) has announced

High-value business travellers, sports stars and performing arts professionals will be exempt from England’s quarantine requirement for international arrivals from Saturday, Grant Shapps (pictured) has announced  

The shift drew a furious response from Labour, with Mr Shapps' shadow Jim McMahon lashing out at double standards

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The shift drew a furious response from Labour, with Mr Shapps' shadow Jim McMahon lashing out at double standards

Mr Shapps revealed the overhaul last night, saying: 'From 4am on Sat 5th Dec high-value business travellers will no longer need to self-isolate when returning to ENGLAND from a country NOT in a travel corridor, allowing more travel to support the economy and jobs. Conditions apply.'

He added: 'From 4am on Sat 5th Dec certain performing arts professionals, TV production staff, journalists, and recently signed elite sportspersons will also be exempt, subject to specific criteria being met – guidance will be available on soon.'

According to the Department for Transport, people will have to 'meet a set of required criteria' in order to be awarded the business exemption. 

The rules will apply to 'individuals undertaking specific business activity which would deliver a significant benefit to the UK economy – including activity that creates or preserves 50+ UK jobs'.  

The guidance stressed that individuals 'will only be exempt when undertaking the specific business activity and will only be able to meet with others as

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