Tax-free Shopping Campaign Update - Jeremy Hunt orders a review of the policy

For the last three years, New West End Company has led a campaign to reinstate tax-free shopping, bolstered by calls from the Association of International Retail, trade bodies and businesses across the U.K., and supportive members of Government, notably Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, and Nickie Aiken MP, who have advocated on our behalf in Westminster.

The news that Jeremy Hunt has ordered a review of the policy is a milestone moment and is the closest we have gotten to returning the scheme under the current Conversative government. The decision has been spurred, in no small part, by data submitted by New West End Company members – evidence which has informed key debates in the House of Commons and in front of Select Committees. This evidence is clear: returning tax-free shopping would have a net positive effect on tax revenues and make British businesses competitive once more.

It is hard to overstate the opportunity in front of us. Reinstating tax-free shopping would allow the U.K. to recapture tourist spend which has leaked across the Channel, whilst simultaneously making us the largest and closest tax-free shopping destination for 450 million E.U. residents.

We already have the infrastructure and reputation to support the influx of spend and footfall that tax-free shopping would bring, and the benefits would be felt across the nation – from regional airports and luxury manufacturing hubs to the West End.

The Government has a golden opportunity within its grasp: to inject growth back into the national economy, with a tried and tested scheme which will be delivered by businesses and has cross-party support. As we look ahead to the Spring Budget, and the results of the review into tax-free shopping, we will continue to engage with members of Government to underline scale of the opportunity at hand. 

To support our campaign with evidence on the impact of tax-free shopping, please contact Paddy Gamble, Head of Insights, at To participate in our media programme, please contact Lorna Keegan, Head of Corporate Affairs, at