The Chancellor is planning to abolish responsibility free for non-EU vacationers from January 1 in a transfer that may make their purchases 20 per cent dearer.
The Treasury has repeatedly performed down the impression, however figures compiled for the Night Customary present final yr London responsibility free gross sales in December alone got here to £213 million.
Knowledge for the final six years present that it totalled greater than £1 billion. The figures additionally spotlight how value delicate responsibility free buyers are. This yr the festive spending spree has been wrecked by Tier 4 restrictions, however would have been anticipated to return to regular ranges in future years.
In 2016, the yr the pound fell after the Brexit referendum, December responsibility free gross sales rocketed £33 million to £187 million as vacationers flocked to the UK for currency-driven bargains.
Doug McWilliams on the economics think-tank CEBR, which has sought to persuade the Treasury to not scrap responsibility free, mentioned: “That is extraordinarily price-driven spending.
“Consumers got here and spent extra when the pound devalued. They’ll go elsewhere once more once we make it 20 per cent dearer.”
The Treasury says it would save greater than £500 million from the transfer, however CEBR evaluation confirmed that, contemplating the broader hit to vacationer spending on inns, journey and sights, it would really value the taxpayer greater than £3 billion.
Mr McWilliams mentioned: “We offered our findings to the Treasury however they had been completely satisfied they had been proper and we weren’t. It was very disappointing and confirmed a complete lack of expertise in authorities.”
He mentioned the Bicester Village buying centre was among the many prime vacationer locations. “These individuals love to buy and if it’s cheaper elsewhere, that’s the place they’ll do it.”
The CEBR figures indicated as many as 40,000 jobs may very well be misplaced from London to Edinburgh as companies cut back their operations.