30 May 2023
Baker Street Quarter Partnership has been working with fellow London BIDs, as well as some of our members, to support the campaign to bring back tax-free shopping for tourists. The scheme, which allowed non-EU visitors to claim back VAT on their purchases, was scrapped in 2020, immediately making it 20% more expensive for overseas visitors to shop in the UK. There has been much coverage in the media, with more than 200 business leaders calling for its reinstatement, including our members Selfridges, Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill and Nobu Portman Square.
As London continues to recover from the impact of Covid, the number of visitors from Asia, America and the Middle East has struggled to return to pre-pandemic levels, with many opting to shop in other European countries. Losing out on attracting these high spend shoppers has not only impacted retailers, but has a knock-on effect to other industries, particularly hotels and eateries, that would benefit from the increased footfall, such as those in the Quarter.
Restoring the tax-free benefit to tourists will increase London’s competitive edge over other cities and help areas like Baker Street Quarter, driving local jobs and growth and maintaining the area’s vibrancy into the future. We hope to see a decision made to reintroduce the tax-free shopping very soon.