Tax Free Shopping Restored in the UK – Comment by Steven Medway

Comment by Steven Medway, Chief Executive of King’s Road Partnership.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has unveiled the biggest package of tax cuts in 50 years, hailing a “new era” for the UK economy.

Since my very first day as the CEO of the King’s Road Partnership we have been part of an unabating, relentless and persistent campaign to restore tax-free shopping in the UK, which the Government abolished in January 2021 when Britain left the EU.

I am delighted to see that that the Chancellor has today announced a reversal of this decision with a new modern digital scheme for international tourists.

We know that shopping is a major motivator for travellers when choosing a destination. This is fantastic news not only for King’s Road retailers, but all of the hotels, restaurants, and cultural attractions they choose to spend their money with.

We look forward to seeing EU citizens and the rest of the world taking advantage of this long-awaited scheme that is a win for HM Treasury, King’s Road businesses and international visitors.

Our thanks go to HM Treasury for allowing King’s Road to maintain its role as one of the London’s most exclusive national and international shopping destinations, drawing visitors from around the world.

Thank you also to all of our partners for making this happen, in particular New West End Company and The Association of International Retail.

Now let’s get on with the roll out, there’s no time to waste. [cont. below]

Tax change plans at a glance

The King’s Road Partnership welcomes the planned return of VAT-free shopping for international tourists, including those from the EU, which will boost sales on the high street.

The introduction of a modern, digital, VAT-free shopping scheme for international tourists is fantastic news for the retail, hospitality and tourism sectors, and West End businesses.

Read on for more key points from the Fiscal Statement:

Tax-free shopping and Duty Free

VAT-free shopping will be introduced for overseas visitors to the UK. The current paper-based system will be replaced with a digital one, and will be put in place by the government as soon as possible. Rates of alcohol duty will not rise in line with the Retail Price Index

Tax Reform

The planned increase in corporation tax to 25 per cent will be cancelled, with the tax remaining at its current rate of 19 per cent. The UK will remain as the country with the lowest rate of corporation tax in the G20.

The Office for Tax Simplification will be wound down and incorporated into existing government bodies. The additional rate of tax will be abolished from April 2023 and the basic rate of income tax will be cut to 19 pence.

The government has said a consultation will “gather views on the approach and design of the scheme” before it is delivered as soon as possible.

Read more here.