(Image: Boris Johnson)
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Boris Johnson's new quarantine loophole for top business bosses has been branded an "offensive slap in the face" for ordinary Brits.
Overseas business executives who jet into England will not be forced into a ten-day Covid quarantine if their trip brings "significant economic benefit" to the UK, the Government has announced.
The move provoked immediate outrage, however, with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham calling it "one rule for the rich and another for the rest" and Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner saying it "takes the p***".
It comes as Covid curbs frustrate millions of people desperate to book a summer holiday abroad.
Mr Burnham tweeted: Wrong move at the wrong time. It can’t be one rule for the rich and another for the rest."
"It is the lowest paid working people who have got our country through this crisis, risking their lives on the frontline.," Ms Rayner added. "This is an offensive slap in the face for them and shows this government's true colours.
"Yet again it is one rule for those at the top and another for everyone else. This makes a total mockery of the sacrifices of the British people during this pandemic and this double standard is an insult to frontline workers that the British people will rightly be disgusted by."
No10 defended the plans, however, saying it was “important the UK public don’t lose out on prospective major investments and new jobs”.
“Protecting public health is our number one priority and that’s why those exemptions will only apply in truly exceptional circumstances,” the PM’s spokesman claimed.
He said executives can only use the exemption if they have clearly demonstrated they meet criteria and received pre-approval in writing from UK government, and they will still have to be tested.
"Significant economic benefit" is considered to be having a greater than 50% chance of creating or preserving at least 500 UK-based jobs, or creating a new UK business within two years, new guidance issued on Tuesday said.
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The Department for Business said the controversial exemption "is designed to enable activity that creates and preserves UK jobs and investment".
The Government that business leaders will not qualify if the activities can be carried out remotely via telephone or email, or by another person.