MPs and Peers urge the Chancellor to support the UK’s travel industry

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Over 60 MPs and Peers urge the Chancellor to support the UK’s travel industry by introducing duty free on arrival shops


Tom Hack, Head of Commercial, Bristol Airport said:

“Following Brexit, the UK Government has confirmed that British travellers will once again be able to treat themselves when they fly abroad on holiday with the return of Duty Free shopping. If the go-ahead for Duty Free on arrival were also given, this is another boost for the British traveller and the domestic economy with the sale being made in the UK rather than in the EU. It’s also a much needed lifeline following the catastrophic financial impact the pandemic has wreaked on the travel industry. Retail sales support the development of our airline and destination network, allowing us to continue to provide world class facilities, progress our significant focus on sustainable growth and ultimately - build back better.”

A cross-party group of over sixty MPs and Peers have written to the Chancellor calling for the introduction of duty free on arrival shops in British airports, international rail and ferry terminals.

In the joint letter sent last week, parliamentarians urged the UK Government “to help our travel sector flourish and take full advantage of the UK’s EU departure. Stating that “this easy to implement, cost-neutral policy will drive forward investment through capital expenditure, create jobs and according to independent research, increase passenger spend by between 20 - 30 per cent.”

Organised by the Chair of the Future Aviation All-Party Parliamentary Group, Henry Smith MP it has received support from the likes of Sir Graham Brady MP, Chair of the powerful 1922 Committee, Lord Davies, former Government Aviation Champion in Theresa May’s Government and both the Liberal Democrat and DUP official Treasury Spokesperson.

Commenting on this initiative, Henry Smith MP added: “This joint letter showcases the strength of political feeling on this matter. The UK’s travel sector is vital to our economic success which our recovery will rely on. We need to ensure it is in a position to support a global Britain, deliver long term and sustainable jobs to the UK, and play its part in the safe and sustainable recovery of international travel. The introduction of duty free on arrival shops delivers that helping hand.”

Fundamental to this initiative is that it will not take sales away from the UK’s high street and deprive UK businesses of sales. Instead, it will repatriate sales that currently take place at the point of departure – mostly in Europe. Regardless of whether this policy is implemented, these products will still be purchased. Duty free on arrival shops will ensure the economic benefits are realised in the UK. This is good news for our travel industry and great news for UK plc.

This initiative is strongly supported by industry too. Francois Bourienne, Chair of the UK Travel Retail Forum added:Duty free on arrival shop should form an integral part of the Government’s support package for our ailing travel industry. The beauty of this initiative is that it will not cost the Government a penny. More than tax breaks or grants, the Government should look to self-sustaining measures, such as duty free on arrival shops, which are mindful of the fiscal restraints on our economy and allow the industry to stand on its own two feet and flourish. With the European Union considering such an initiative the UK must follow suit to remain competitive.”
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