‘Dover to benefit’ if government reinstates duty free sales on European travel post-Brexit

PUBLISHED: 12:30 29 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:30 29 August 2017

Duty Free shopping

Duty Free shopping


MP Charlie Elphicke organised a letter to chancellor Philip Hammond calling for the 1999 ban to be reversed when Britain leaves

The chancellor has been urged to help reinstate duty free sales on travel to and from the European Union after Brexit by a Kent MP.

Charlie Elphicke, who represents Dover and Deal, is one of 40 Conservative MPs who have signed a letter to Philip Hammond calling for duty free to be available for trips to Europe from March 29, 2019.

Such sales between Britain and the EU were axed by the EU in 1999 and since then they have only applied on trips outside the continent.

The letter, organised Mr Elphicke, says bringing back duty free will boost regional economies like Dover and Deal, with towns and districts home to ports and smaller airports, as well as the ferry industry and airlines, are set to benefit most.

Mr Elphicke said: “The return of duty free would deliver a real boost to Britain.

“The benefits would be felt across the nation – particularly in coastal communities and regional airports.

“Bringing back duty free would be a real boost to the ferry industry at ports from Dover to Holyhead - as well as regional airports from Aberdeen to the East Midlands.”

Mr Elphicke said the return of duty free could also boost UK cruise ship ports.

By having one non-EU stopover on a cruise, the entire journey becomes duty and tax free for passengers.

The MPs want the reintroduction of duty free on travel between the UK and EU states to occur two years from the triggering of Article 50.

They say that duty free should be brought back - and people should also be able to continue to bring in personal imports from the EU as they do now.

The letter says: “These changes need to be made in good time in order to give operators time to be ready on day one of Brexit. We understand that preparations could take up to nine months for ferry firms and airport operators.”

Only minor amendments to legislation on VAT, excise duty and excise goods are required to reintroduce duty free, according to industry experts.

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