Mail Online

New Treasury ministers back tax scrap calls

By Emily Hawkins

OPPONENTS of the tourist tax believe newly appointed treasury ministers may help them get it scrapped.

Bim Afolami and nigel Huddleston ( pictured), who joined Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s team last month, have privately voiced their support for reinstating VAT-free shopping, the Mail understands.

the Mail’s scrap the tourist tax campaign is calling for a

U-turn and is backed by more than 400 businesses including Burberry, Harrods, Marks & spencer and Heathrow Airport. the bosses of major hotels, restaurants and theatres have also been urging the Chancellor to boost Britain’s competitiveness.

As affluent tourists from China and the Us return to europe on holiday after Covid, it is feared the UK is missing out on valuable spending. tourists who once splashed their cash on expensive handbags or jewellery are buying them in paris, Milan and other destinations on the continent – leaving Britain in the lurch.

Visitors can benefit from a 20pc VAT refund across much of europe but the UK scheme was scrapped in 2021 by Rishi sunak when he was chancellor. Research suggests ditching the levy could make the UK £10bn a year better off and support 200,000 jobs.

tory Mp sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said he felt ‘the dial was changed’ in the wake of the Chancellor’s statement and the new treasury appointments.

Other retail sources said Huddleston and Afolami were the best the campaign could have hoped for.

Huddleston, who is Financial secretary to the treasury, is seen by many as a key ally as he is a former tourism minister and is well liked by the industry.

It is hoped there will be a positive update for the campaign at the Budget in spring next year.

paul Barnes, chief executive at the Association of International Retail, told the Mail: ‘there’s a fresh look at it, there is new ministers, new evidence – let’s have a new review of it.’ Afolami and Huddleston did not wish to comment.





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