Kurt Geiger joins campaign to scrap Britain's hated 'tourist tax'
Kurt Geiger joins campaign to scrap Britain’s hated ‘tourist tax’ as boss of Europe’s largest luxury shoe firm says it’s like ‘having one arm tied behind your back’
- Neil Clifford is calling to bring back a VAT-free incentive for overseas visitors
- Read: Serial shoplifter who stole £159 bag ordered to pay back the money
The head of Europe’s largest luxury shoe retailer Kurt Geiger has said running a business in London with a tourist tax is like ‘having one arm tied behind your back’.
Neil Clifford is among 150 business leaders calling for Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to bring back a VAT-free incentive for overseas visitors.
The Daily Mail has launched a Scrap The Tourist Tax campaign with the support of big names in retail including Burberry and Harrods. Kurt Geiger has more than 70 stores in the UK, as well as selling shoes and accessories in major department stores.
But Mr Clifford said London was placed at a disadvantage in the battle to woo overseas visitors back to the country, rather than to Milan or Paris.
A concession allowing international tourists to shop tax-free was abolished in 2021 by the then-chancellor Rishi Sunak.
The head of Europe’s largest luxury shoe retailer Kurt Geiger has said running a business in London with a tourist tax is like ‘having one arm tied behind your back’
Mr Clifford said: ‘You are starting the race further back. You have one arm tied behind your back, no matter what service you can deliver or the products in your collection or how wonderful your stores look. If you’re 20 per cent more expensive than stores in Paris, then it’s more difficult.’ The decision by the now-Prime Minister to scrap the incentive had ‘put London so far behind in the global race to be one of the best cities to visit for tourism and pleasure’ and has had a knock-on effect on the rest of the country too, he believes.
And Mr Clifford joined other bosses in lamenting that this weekend’s Coronation would not be as lucrative an occasion for businesses as it could be.
‘London is going to be broadcast around the world. The British are so fabulous at pomp and circumstance. It’s a shame we can’t take full advantage of that.’
He was concerned that tourists would come to the UK for a couple of days to celebrate the historic royal moment, before heading off elsewhere in Europe.
Neil Clifford (pictured) is among 150 business leaders calling for Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to bring back a VAT-free incentive for overseas visitors
‘One may well visit for a couple of days, to get a glimpse of the King in a wonderful carriage, before jumping on the Eurostar to do your shopping in Paris.’
A letter to Mr Hunt was organised by hotelier Sir Rocco Forte and has been signed by the bosses of M&S, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. Cross-party politicians have thrown their weight behind the campaign, including former prime minister Liz Truss and London mayor Sadiq Khan.
The Treasury has dismissed industry calls to scrap the tax and argued it would cost £2billion a year. But economists argue this figure does not take into account the tax generated if visitors spent more cash in the UK.
Source: Read Full Article