World News – UK – Retail industry and Scottish government worried about tourists stopping claiming VAT


The Scottish Government has raised concerns over the cancellation of a scheme allowing tourists to reclaim VAT on purchases made in the UK

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes MSP says the Scottish government was not consulted before the announcement of the cancellation of the retail VAT export regime after the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31

The scheme allows third country nationals to recover the VAT paid on goods they take home in their personal luggage

The UK government has said the scheme is only benefiting areas with high tourist numbers, but retail groups have called for it to continue

In response to a written question from Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labor Party Jackie Baillie MSP, the Finance Secretary said: ‘This change was suddenly announced by the UK government and, despite the obvious and substantial implications for Scottish sectors prior engagement with Scottish government officials

« As a result, we were not given the opportunity to conduct our own analysis and none was shared by the UK government

“Since this announcement, the Scottish Government has received representations from a number of stakeholder organizations expressing concerns about the impact on trade and the economy in general

« We share their concerns and do not think this is an appropriate time to make such a brutal and meaningful change »

The director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, David Lonsdale, shared concerns over the cancellation of the program

He said: « The UK government must reconsider its decision to abolish the retail VAT export regime

« This program encourages street spending by international tourists visiting Scotland and the rest of the UK

Lonsdale said the move was « astonishing » given the recent slowdown in retail sales due to the coronavirus pandemic

He added: « The move could cost Edinburgh city center, for example, several million dollars in lost retail sales, not to mention the repercussions on tourism

« This move would make the UK the only European country not to offer a duty free shopping program to encourage tourism There is a good reason why no other European country has taken this step, and we call for a rapid review « 

Tourism, Scottish Government, Scotland, Kate Forbes

World news – UK – Retail industry and Scottish government worried about the end of tourists clamoring for the VAT


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