Britain is re-introducing tax-free shopping for overseas visitors

Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said on Friday that Britain will bring back sales tax-free shopping for overseas visitors to boost the country’s weak retail sector.

“Britain welcomes millions of tourists every year and I want our high streets and airports, our ports and our shopping centers to experience the economic benefit. That’s why we decided to introduce purchases for foreign visitors without VAT,” he said in parliament during the presentation of the mini-budget.

Previous tax-free purchases were abolished at the end of 2020. Kwarteng said the government will replace the previous paper-based system with a digital one. “And it will be in place as soon as possible.”

Linda Ellett, UK head of consumer markets, retail and leisure at KPMG, said the move would boost the UK’s competitiveness when it comes to attracting overseas visitors.

“This is all the more important as we seek to find ways to grow the economy, return international tourism to pre-pandemic levels and counter rising high street inflation,” she said.

by James Davey; Editors: Kate Holton and Paul Sandle

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