MP Henry Smith leads over 60 MPs and Peers urging Chancellor to support UK travel industry by introducing duty free on arrival shops

Henry Smith MP has led a group of over 60 MPs and Peers in writing to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to call for the introduction of duty free on arrival shops in British airports, international rail and ferry terminals.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 2:30 pm
Henry Smith MP has led a group of over 60 MPs and Peers in writing to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to call for the introduction of duty free on arrival shops in British airports, international rail and ferry terminals. Picture by Steve Robards

In the joint letter organised by Crawley MP and Future of Aviation All-Party Parliamentary Group Chair Henry Smith, MPs and Peers urged the UK Government 'to help our travel sector flourish and take full advantage of the UK’s EU departure', stating that 'this easy to implement, cost-neutral policy will drive forward investment through capital expenditure, create jobs and according to independent research… increase passenger spend by between 20-30 per cent'.

Smith said: “The UK’s travel sector is vital to our economic success which our recovery will rely on.

"We need to ensure it is in a position to support a global Britain, deliver long-term and sustainable jobs to the UK, and play its part in the safe and sustainable recovery of international travel.

"The introduction of duty free on arrival shops delivers that helping hand.

“This joint letter showcases the strength of political feeling on this matter.

“I’m proud to support the introduction of duty free on arrival stores.

"The UK’s travel industry enriches the lives of people in Crawley and helps support our local economy.

"As we look ahead to a post-Covid environment, it’s vital that the Government explore innovative ways of helping the sector not only recover but grow.

“The UK travel sector needs our support during this difficult time.

"The introduction of duty free on arrival stores can not only help the industry recover in the short-term by providing jobs, kick-starting investment and bringing global passenger spend to the UK, but will set it up for the future – delivering a future-proofed sector that can support our global agenda.”

Fundamental to this initiative is that it will not take sales away from the UK’s high street and deprive UK businesses of sales.

Instead, it will repatriate sales that currently take place at the point of departure, mostly in Europe, and bring that point of sale to the UK.

Regardless of whether this policy is implemented, these products will still be purchased.

Duty free on arrival shops will ensure the economic benefits are realised in the UK. This is good news for our travel industry and great news for UK plc.

Francois Bourienne, Chair of the UK Travel Retail Forum, added: “Duty free on arrival shop should form an integral part of the Government’s support package for our ailing travel industry.

"The beauty of this initiative is that it will not cost the Government a penny.

"More than tax breaks or grants, the Government should look to self-sustaining measures, such as duty free on arrival shops, which are mindful of the fiscal restraints on our economy and allow the industry to stand on its own two feet and flourish.

"With the European Union considering such an initiative the UK must follow suit to remain competitive.”