// 70,000 jobs to be axed if tax-free shopping ends for international tourists
// UK retailers, along with hoteliers and airport chiefs have warned the chancellor of job losses
// The decision could leave UK as the only nation in Europe without a tax-free shopping scheme
Retailers across the UK have reportedly warned that at least 70,000 jobs are currently at risk if the government scraps tax-free shopping.
The retailers, along with hoteliers and airport chiefs have warned chancellor Rishi Sunak that ending tax-free shopping for international tourists will risk thousands of jobs, The Guardian reported.
Earlier this month, the Treasury said that the retail scheme, which enables non-EU visitors to reclaim VAT paid on their purchases, would finish at the end of December.
However, the Treasury said it is making use of the end of the Brexit transition period to bring personal duty and tax systems in line with international norms.
Meanwhile, luxury handbag retailer Mulberry criticised what it said was a “short-sighted” move.
The retailer’s chief executive Thierry Andretta warned it would “have a material impact on jobs and manufacturing in this sector”.
Retailers such as Marks & Spencer and Selfridges, along with outlet centre Bicester Village are among the businesses signing a letter urging Sunak to rethink scrapping tax-free shopping.
Other signatories include the bosses of major airports including Heathrow, Gatwick and Birmingham.
The decision, if it goes ahead, will mean the UK will be the only nation in Europe to not have a tax-free shopping scheme for international visitors.
The economy fears that without the high spending coming in from China and the Middle East, the cash is likely to go elsewhere.
It comes at a time when city centres around the UK are struggling to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.