TookThe British government on Thursday announced its intention to allow tourists to shop VAT-free, a possibility that was dropped with Brexit, in a bid to boost trade.
The measure will “boost departmental stores and create jobs in the retail and tourism sectors”, according to a “plan of growth” unveiled on Friday by Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Quasi Quarteng.
The new scheme will be aimed at “non-British visitors to the UK” and will enable “them to receive VAT refunds on goods purchased on high roads, airports and other exit points from the country, provided they are taken out of the country”. The United Kingdom “in its personal belongings”, the government said on Friday.
People arriving in the EU without residency are authorized to shop there free of VAT, or be reimbursed for this tax, a system that particularly benefits department stores and luxury boutiques.
The UK abolished the system when it left the EU in January 2021, much to the detriment of tourism and retail professionals. The British government said on Friday it would launch a public consultation on how to install the device, which it says it wants to start “as soon as possible”.
The measure could be rolled out in 2024 at the cost of cutting state revenues for the first year by about £1.3bn, according to documents released on Friday after Mr Quarteng’s budget presentation to the British Parliament.
The British Chambers of Commerce welcomed the return of the measure, which they demanded. “International tourism is an important element for the British economy (…), especially in the hotel sector”, reacted their general manager Shevan Haviland in a press release.
The VAT refund would “give a much-needed boost to retail, hospitality and other sectors that depend on tourist traffic to support their income”, said the City of London Corporation, which represents the district. The affairs of the British capital.
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