Global Blue fights UK government plan to axe tax free shopping at end of 2020

By Andrew Pentol |

Global Blue is part of a coalition of trade bodies trying to overturn the UK government decision to end tax free shopping for all international visitors after 31 December 2020.

European Tax refund company Global Blue is continuing to fight the UK government’s plan to end tax free shopping for all international visitors after 31 December 2020.

According to Global Blue, this will lead to significant job losses across the retail and tourism sectors, hold back Britain’s economic recovery from covid-19 and undermine Britain’s global appeal and competitiveness.

Global Blue is part of a coalition of trade bodies trying to overturn the decision to axe take free sales in the UK which was made last month. The coalition has made ‘significant media noise’ up to now and mobilised members of Parliament.

The company has also undertaken a consumer survey of 44,000 international travellers and commissioned an economic impact study to demonstrate the unintended consequences of the decision to the government.

Global Blue said: “Our consumer survey generated over 4,000 responses with 62% of international travellers saying they are now less likely to visit the UK. 93% said they would now not shop in the UK and most said they would move their spending to France and Italy.”


The company added: “We have just handed a valuable part of our international visitor economy over to Paris, Milan and Rome. One of the most important pressures we can bring to bear on the government are the MP’s across all parties whose constituencies will be affected by this.

Tax Free shopping contributes to the £26 billion a year spent annually by international visitors to the UK.

“Constituencies will be impacted by loss of retail sales, fewer visitors to the area, or loss of retail, tourism and manufacturing jobs in their area.”

In the meantime, Global Blue is urging partners to contact their local MP (preferably by letter) or write to the chancellor, Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP.

“We have several MP’s already strongly supportive of our cause who will also personally go and talk to the MP’s that they know (via you) that their constituents have raised the matter to.

“I cannot stress strongly enough the immediate and urgent need for you to do this. International visitors to the UK spend £26 billion/£34 billion a year across a wide range of goods and services. Tax-free shopping is a small part of that. The damage should we lose part of that spend will be significant,” Global Blue concluded.

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