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The UK Government has announced that they will abolish of the VAT refund scheme and tax-free airport shopping on 1st January, which could see travellers paying more when shopping on their travels. You can support our campaign by signing and sharing this petition.

Without a new tax-free shopping regime, airports and travel retailers across the UK will be significantly impacted as demand falls and international travellers look to shop elsewhere. This could be especially damaging to regional airports who rely most heavily on retail revenue and national retailers may decide to close shops outside of London first as consumer demand falls. This fall in demand could also impact the regional manufacturing operations of iconic British brands such as Burberry, Mulberry and Johnstons of Elgin.

The Government has been clear that their highest priority is to protect jobs and livelihoods during the pandemic by extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Nevertheless, the pandemic has already had a significant impact on workers of travel retailers and airports across the UK. From Friday 1 January 2021, these already damaged sectors will be forced to cut thousands of jobs as a result of the Government’s decision to abolish tax-free shopping, especially as other European countries such as France and Ireland expand their tax-free shopping schemes to lure visitors away from the UK in a post-Brexit world.

Woman shopping

A new tax-free shopping regime will ensure that UK airports and travel retailers continue to compete on a level playing field as their European counterparts as well as delivering a Brexit boost of up to £1.1 billion of economic growth and up to 10,000 new jobs – mostly outside of London – as UK recovers from the COVID pandemic.

Heathrow has joined with travel retailers and airports from across the UK to call on the Government to approve a new tax-free shopping scheme for EU and non-EU travellers which works for jobs, the economy, and for the Treasury, and which can be implemented by 1 January 2021 at no cost to the taxpayer. This approach will protect thousands of jobs and livelihoods across the UK and support the national recovery, while also supporting the Government’s Global Britain ambitions and its levelling-up agenda.