30 AUG 2017

Duty free must be brought back after Brexit

Duty free sales on travel to and from the European Union must return after Brexit.

I have written to Chancellor Philip Hammond with the support of 39 Conservative MPs calling for duty free to be reinstated for trips to Europe from March 29th, 2019.

Duty free sales between Britain and the EU were axed by the EU in 1999. Since then duty free has only applied on trips outside Europe.

Bringing back duty free will boost regional economies like Dover and Deal. Towns and districts home to ports and smaller airports, as well as the ferry industry and airlines, are set to benefit most.

The return of duty free would deliver a real boost to Britain. The benefits would be felt across the nation – particularly in coastal communities and regional airports. Bringing back duty free would be a real boost to the ferry industry at ports from Dover to Holyhead - as well as regional airports from Aberdeen to the East Midlands.

The return of duty free could also boost UK cruise ship ports. By having one non-EU stopover on a cruise, the entire journey becomes duty and tax free for passengers.

The reintroduction of duty free on travel between the UK and EU states should occur two years from the triggering of Article 50 (March 29th, 2019). Duty free should be brought back - and people should also be able to continue to bring in personal imports from the EU like they do now.

The letter says: "These changes need to be made in good time in order to give operators time to be ready on day one of Brexit. We understand that preparations could take up to nine months for ferry firms and airport operators."

Only minor amendments to legislation on VAT, excise duty and excise goods are required to reintroduce duty free, according to industry experts.

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Charlie Elphicke

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