The return of duty free sales on travel to and from the European Union would deliver a real boost for Dover and Deal. That’s why I have long been campaigning for this to happen – and why it is so welcome that the Chancellor is planning to do it. It would benefit the ferry industry, as duty free goods will attract more people to travel. And it will boost visits to our cruise port at the Western Docks.
Under international law, having one non-EU stopover on a cruise makes the entire journey duty and tax free for passengers. So you can imagine that cruises going anywhere around the Baltic will be sure to see if they can make a call at Dover.
The return of duty free would mean towns and regions home to ports or small airports across the whole nation would get a much needed shot in the arm. This is why beyond simply seeking get Brexit done, we also need to plan ahead for what Brexit can mean for areas that have lost out in recent times – that includes reviving duty free which helps ports like ours and regional airports too.
The Treasury only needs to make minor tweaks to current laws. That’s why I hope when we have a Budget these measures will be part of the package.
It is vital that we prepare now for every eventuality of Brexit – particularly at the Dover and Deal frontline. That’s why I’ve long been working with industry experts and business leaders on the action we can take. And it’s clear from the shameful and typically insulting response of Brussels to Boris Johnson’s deeply considered and reasonable proposals that no deal is now a real possibility. This underlines why I have long argued we must be ready on day one, deal or no deal. And ready to ensure the £39 Billion extra we will have is used to ensure our departure is as smooth as possible.
Of course, the EU will be the big loser from no deal. For tariffs would hit Europe’s exports to us twice as hard as they would hit our exports to them. No transition or free-trade deal would mean Europe’s exports to us would be hit for £13.2billion of tariffs. Meanwhile, tariffs on our exports to Europe would be just £6.5billion. Hopefully the Europeans will focus less on the efforts of the anti-democratic wreckers in Parliament to cancel Brexit and more on the economic realities to see that progress is made to land an agreed departure at the 11th hour.
Now more than ever, we must be prepared for no deal. That means focussing our energies to be ready on day one. Getting ready for the return of duty free is part of that. And ensuring we are prepared for the customs challenges ahead at the Dover frontline.