Spring Budget Reaction: Chancellor Misses Tax-Free Boost 

Dee Corsi

Chief Executive

For three years, New West End Company has relentlessly led the campaign to reinstate tax-free shopping, leveraging real-world data to underline the negative impact that scrapping the policy has had on so many British businesses, in the West End and nationally. 

A big thank you to all our members who have supported this campaign by sharing their own data, either through New West End Company, or directly to the Treasury.

Today’s announcement is incredibly disappointing for us all, and at odds with the real-world data which has been shared by businesses, airports, and regional groups across the country.

We will continue to engage with both the Treasury, the Government, and the Shadow Cabinet, to make clear the urgency of the issue – and placing the opportunity tax-free shopping represents firmly in the context of an already challenged national economy.

For larger retail businesses, in particular, today’s Budget will have been a significant blow. Many of these businesses, in the West End and beyond, are facing a perfect economic storm in the months ahead, including a costly rise in business rates and the imminent increase to the national living wage.

That is why, in addition to lobbying for the reinstatement of tax-free shopping, we will be placing increasing focus on campaigning for a fundamental reappraisal of the business rates system and a greater acknowledgment of the value that retailers bring to our national economy.

Put simply, today has been a missed opportunity to inject growth into the UK, with British businesses and their employees set to feel the impact most.