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UKFT demands reversal to end VAT-free shopping

Sep '20
UKFT is urging the government to reverse its decision to end VAT-free shopping to protect UK jobs and retail sales. Under the VAT Retail Export Scheme (VAT RES), international visitors can currently reclaim the VAT they pay on goods bought in UK shops that they take home in their luggage. The UKFT is the network for fashion and textile companies in the UK.

The government has announced it will end the scheme for visitors from all countries in the UK on December 31, 2020. UKFT has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer demanding that this decision is reversed, according to a media statement by UKFT.

“This move is another blow to the UK fashion and textile industry, and our exporters. We fail to see the logic behind this decision at a time when we need to be doing everything we can do to increase sales. The government seems to have lost sight of the importance of exporting, whether that’s through encouraging overseas visitors to the UK or UK companies attending overseas tradeshows,” Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT said.

“This is the worst possible timing for a decision like this. Luxury retailing is unprecedentedly tough and the effect on our business will be terrible when we still haven’t been able to sort out how we are going to get through this time. We urge the government to reverse this decision,” Ian Maclean, managing director of John Smedley and UKFT board member said.

“The end of tax free shopping in the UK is devastating news for retailers already hit hard by the pandemic and the loss of international travellers. Over 50 per cent of our city centre sales are currently tax free and over 33 per cent of our retail sales across the UK as a whole. We know these travellers will now move to other countries making British brands and manufacturers much poorer and ultimately reducing the total revenues to the treasury. We very much hope to see a reversal of this decision which is hugely damaging to the United Kingdom economy at a time when we need all the help we can get,” Simon Cotton, CEO of Johnstons of Elgin and UKFT board member said.

UKFT is also urging the government to allow Tradeshow Access Programme grants to be used for virtual tradeshows, after many key events for the UK fashion and textile industry have moved online.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (GK)

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