Northern Ireland retailers have been largely left out of the UK’s attempt to revive the economy, revealed in the government’s mini-budget.
The 2022 growth plan will pave the way for foreign buyers traveling to the UK to save hundreds of pounds on luxury goods through a range of tax-free perks.
However, as the system is limited to England, Scotland and Wales, Republic consumers cannot simply drive across the border to benefit from a VAT rebate.
Retail NI CEO Glyn Roberts called this a “missed opportunity.”
“We were looking for a general VAT reduction that wasn’t there [the plan],” he said.
“If it’s designed to help high street businesses, it’s a disappointment.”
The proposal, announced by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng yesterday, will allow non-British visitors to the UK to claim tax refunds on goods they wish to take home in their personal luggage.
That means big savings from an initiative that effectively takes ‘duty free shopping’ from the airport to the high street.
Smartphones, laptops and game consoles as well as designer clothing, handbags and jewelry are among the discounted items.
That would mean visitors to London could get a new iPhone 14 for just £879.20.
The same device retails for £1,099 at the Apple Store in Belfast’s Victoria Square shopping center.
Luxury buyers might prefer a top-of-the-line £83,000 Hublot men’s watch, which they could get their hands on for £66,400 in the UK.
We will keep the same VAT regime as the Republic, albeit slightly lower than the 23% cross-border rate, under the existing Brexit arrangements.
There are concerns that the proposed system, which may not roll out until 2024, could seriously disrupt the market for expensive devices across the island of Ireland.
Mr. Kwarteng triggered historic tax cuts and a huge surge in borrowing when he abolished the top rate of income tax and canceled a proposed corporate tax hike.
The announcement sent sterling and UK government bonds into freefall, with the pound falling below $1.11 for the first time in 37 years.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/duty-free-high-street-plan-will-not-operate-in-northern-ireland-42013425.html ‘Duty free’ high street plan will not operate in Northern Ireland