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8th February 2023

UK Mini Budget Reversal: scrapping of VAT free shopping scheme an unfortunate loss – MHA comments

Following the reversal of the mini-budget this morning, Monday 17 October, when Jeremy Hunt announced that Kwasi Kwarteng’s scheme for VAT free shopping for foreign visitors to the UK would not go ahead, Alison Horner, indirect tax partner at MHA, says the scheme was a good idea but its demise is only a small blow to retail:

“It is disappointing to see the retail export scheme added to the bonfire of mini-budget measures. It was a small change but would have been great for retailers. The UK operated a similar scheme while it was an EU member (the Retail Export Scheme for non-EU visitors) so the plan didn’t break new ground.

“However, if it had gone ahead the impact of VAT free shopping would have been a welcome boost to retailers but not enormous in the grand scheme of things. Given the crisis it is understandable the new Chancellor decided to stick to carrying through the National Insurance reversal and throwing away everything else.”