Daily Mail

Backlash over VAT-free shopping


LUXURY retailers rued a ‘missed opportunit­y’ to entice tourists to the UK.

High-end names including Harrods and Burberry wanted the reinstatem­ent of VAT-free shopping for internatio­nal tourists, which ended in January 2021.

But there was no mention of the policy. Tourist spending in Britain has reached only two-thirds of its pre-pandemic level, according to Global Blue, which specialise­s in providing VAT refunds. Italy and Spain are much closer to a return to 2019 levels of tourist spending, and in France they are spending more.

Steve Medway, at the Knightsbri­dge and King’s Road Partnershi­ps in London, said it was ‘a missed opportunit­y to reassert Britain’s pre-eminent status as the internatio­nal destinatio­n of choice for retail’.

Dee Corsi, chief executive at New West End Company, said Jeremy Hunt ‘missed an opportunit­y to accelerate growth’.

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