Burberry chair: loss of VAT refunds for tourists was ‘spectacular own goal’

Gerry Murphy, chairman of fashion group Burberry, criticises Rishi Sunak for his decision, as chancellor, to remove tax-free shopping for tourists.

Murphy begins by thanking Sunak for holding today’s event, saying it’s great to see the government is more “business friendly” than some of its predecessors.

But he then warns that the “somewhat perverse” decision to remove VAT refunds, on the day Britain left the single market, has hurt the economy.

This has made the UK “the least attractive shopping destination in Europe,” Murphy tells the PM, at today’s Business Connect event.

Virtually every other major destination in Europe offers VAT refunds, he explains, and Burberry can see that the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in Paris, Milan and Munich is much stronger than in the UK.

We are actively exporting business as a result of that policy.

Murphy calls it a “bad decision, made for the right reasons”, and urges Sunak and chancellor Jeremy Hunt to rethink this “spectacular own-goal”.

Sunak replies that the governent is “here to listen” and will take Murphy’s comments away.

[Forbes explained last year that the government decision to withdraw the VAT Retail Export Scheme made Britain the only European country not to offer tax-free shopping to non-EU tourists, which, at the time, was argued by several parties to be a counter-productive move.]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *