Fortnum & Mason’s boss blasts ‘crazy plan’ to cancel duty free

Duty free plea: Fortnum's boss Ewan Venters

Duty free plea: Fortnum's boss Ewan Venters

Duty free plea: Fortnum’s boss Ewan Venters

Fortnum & Mason’s boss has urged the Government to drop its ‘crazy plan’ to cancel duty-free shopping.

Ewan Venters, the luxury retailer’s chief executive, warned proposals to scrap tax-free shopping for overseas visitors at the end of the year will cause more British retailers to go to the wall.

International non-EU visitors to the UK can claim a refund for the VAT they pay on most luxury goods.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, Venters said: ‘I would urge the Government to cancel this crazy plan about removing the privileges to international visitors getting tax back on luxury purchases, which is going to happen from January 1 next year.’

The policy, combined with coronavirus restrictions, could see a third of High Street names disappear over the next year, he warned.

Days ago, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) calculated that cancelling the tax break would only save £195million in the first year – far less than the £500million the Treasury had initially forecast.

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