UK air­port shops face board­ing card re­volt in fight over tax-free prod­ucts

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Bri­tain’s gov­ern­ment urged shops at air­ports to lower the prices of tax-free items Wed­nes­day as a cam­paign for pas­sen­gers to refuse to show their board­ing cards over the is­sue gath­ered pace.

Sales tax, which cur­rently stands at 20 per­cent, is not ap­plied by the gov­ern­ment to items sold in air­port shops to peo­ple trav­el­ing to des­ti­na­tions out­side the Euro­pean Union.

Re­tail­ers are sup­posed to dis­count goods ac­cord­ingly. But The In­de­pen­dent news­pa­per re­vealed this week that some stores were fail­ing to ap­ply the re­duc­tion, in­stead pock­et­ing the dif­fer­ence.

Although this prac­tice is not illegal, sev­eral Bri­tish news­pa­pers are now urg­ing pas­sen­gers not to show their board­ing cards, which re­veal their des­ti­na­tion, at air­port shops in sym­bolic protest.

Trea­sury Min­is­ter David Gauke said: “The VAT re­lief at air­ports is in­tended to re­duce prices for trav­el­ers not as a wind­fall gain for shops.

“While many re­tail­ers do pass this sav­ing on to cus­tomers it is dis­ap­point­ing that some are choos­ing not to.

“We urge all air­side re­tail­ers to use this re­lief for the ben­e­fit of their cus­tomers.”

At the height of Bri­tain’s sum­mer hol­i­day sea­son, The In­de­pen­dent de­voted sev­eral pages to the is­sue Wed­nes­day, while the Daily Mail ran a story head­lined: “How you can beat the great air­port shop VAT rip-off — refuse to show your board­ing pass!”

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