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Duty-free shopping to make a comeback?

Source: HM Treasury | | 10/09/2019

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid has said that the Government will reintroduce duty-free shopping with EU countries in the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal.  This would mean that passengers travelling to EU countries would be able to buy beer, spirits, wine and tobacco without duty being applied in the UK.

According to HM Treasury, the decision to reintroduce duty-free shopping in UK ports, airports and international train stations would mean that:

  • UK excise duty will no longer be due on alcohol and cigarettes bought when leaving the UK. A bottle of wine purchased in Heathrow duty free on the way to the EU could be up to £2.23 cheaper.
  • At the point of leaving the EU, people can continue to purchase and bring home unlimited alcohol and cigarettes in Europe if they pay duty on it there – as is the case currently.
  • People will now also have the alternative option to buy limited amounts of duty-free alcohol and cigarettes at duty free shops in Europe instead. For example, a holidaymaker could save more than £12 on two crates of beer.
  • The travel industry has been calling on the Government to re-introduce duty-free, which stopped when the EU Single Market was introduced.

This change would entitle travellers leaving the UK to visit EU destinations to benefit from the duty-free prices currently available to those travelling to non-EU destinations. The Government has also confirmed that a consultation will be launched to examine its long-term duty-free policy.



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