UK Government announces tax free shopping to end

29th September

In a move that critics have said puts 70000 jobs at risk, the UK Government has announced that it will be ending Tax Free Shopping at the end of December 2020. The VAT Retail Export Scheme, as it is formally known, allows international visitors to the UK to reclaim VAT on purchases they make in this country but do not consume here. The Government argues that the change is necessary because the vat relief is costly and vulnerable to fraud.

Commenting on the changes, Alan Mitchell, Chief Executive of Fife Chamber of Commerce, said: “The UK will be the only country in Europe not to offer tax free shopping to international visitors, which is why there are concerns that this measure will impact retail and tourism by making the UK a less attractive destination and reducing the spend by visitors who do come here."

“The timing of this announcement is, at the very least, questionable, as it will take effect when so many retail and tourism businesses are struggling under the burden of Covid. The last thing the Government should be doing is to make their future even more uncertain by potentially robbing them of the spending power of international visitors when they need it the most.”

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