New West End Company are working with the Association of International Retail (AIR) and businesses and trade bodies across the UK to encourage the Treasury and Chancellor to reconside the decision to abolish tax free shopping from December 31 2020.
Ending tax-free shopping will have a direct impact on shops that operate the tax-free shopping scheme to attract international customers. But it will also have an indirect impact on all businesses in international shopping districts as Britain becomes less attractive to international visitors. Some of these non-EU travellers will chose to visit other European countries where tax-free shopping is still available. Others will still visit Britain but are likely to spend less time and less money here.
The 16 million non-EU visitors spend around £3 billion on tax-free shopping and a further £14.8 billion on non-tax-free shopping, restaurants, hotels and many other goods and services while they are visiting the UK.
If tax-free shopping ends and many of these high spending visitors divert to Paris or Milan, as all the opinion polling suggest they will, London will become less attractive for brands and investors who want to be where their major customers are.
Coming on top of the damage done to the West End by the COVID-19 pandemic, this decision to make Britain the only European country not to offer tax-free shopping will be a further blow to our district. It will deter visitors, investors and businesses, so making the West End a poorer place in many different ways. Fewer attractions, fewer visitors and less spending will undermine our recovery and growth.
- You can see the letter to the Chancellor signed by 21 senior CEOs across the UK, arranged by AIR here
- Click to read the short briefing here
- Click to read the long briefing here
- Read the Consumer Economic Impact Research here
- Read CEBRs Tax Free Shopping Economic Impact Report here
- You can see the latest media release here.
For further information on the campaign and how you can help, contact: