Retailers to fast-track reintroduction of  VAT-free scheme to 2023


Only days after Kwasi Kwarteng, finance minister of the UK announced the reintroduction of VAT-free shopping for overseas visitors; retailers have expressed their displeasure with the time it will take for the scheme to be implemented.

Big names in the UK retail industry like outlet mall Bicester Village, at the Heathrow Airport, and many West End businesses aim to persuade ministers to fast-track the plans so they’re in place in time for the King’s coronation in 2023.

The VAT-free scheme was earlier scrapped back in 2021 with Britain’s “Brexit” but is now being reintroduced in order to cope with rising inflation in the market. 

It was also aimed to support the British government’s financial status after they had spent billions supporting the country through Covid. 

However, the current government hopes to drive retail sales growth with the reintroduction of the said scheme. A profit of £2 billion by 2026-27 can be made as per reports.  

The sectors of retail and hospitality, that will be strongly affected by this reintroduction, also believe that the profits and benefits will go beyond £2 billion as the reintroduction will lead to immense growth in tourism which will thus lead to profits in stores, theatre, restaurants, and hotels. 

Another benefit of the VAT-free scheme would be the creation of job opportunities in all of the above-mentioned sectors.

The government also plans to modernise the scheme by digitising the earlier paper-based system. However, this is precisely why, the government claims, the implementation will take as long as two years, i.e. by 2024. 

The UK retailers, however, disagree with their government on this as well. They believe that the entire digitisation process can be done sooner than 2024 and in fact, should be done sooner than that.

Britain would see a large number of tourists in the country for King Charles’ coronation next summer,  and it would only make sense to use the opportunity to the fullest. has also reportedly heard from specialists in the sector like Vat-free shopping facilitator Planet, that ready-made digital systems can be applied relatively quickly.

Planet claims to have evidence that they’ve done it in other key duty-free shopping markets around the world.


Diksha Gurung
Diksha Gurung
I am a Sociology Hons. graduate with a passion for writing and reading.





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