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Burberry Chairman Recommends Vat Refund for Tourists to PM

Cecilia Bel

Apr 24, 2023

The chairman of Burberry believes that the UK's value-added tax on tourists' shopping will make it less attractive in Europe.

The chairman of the British luxury brand Burberry said at a business connection meeting in London on Monday that one of the reasons for the decline in the number of tourists and shoppers in the UK after Brexit is the cancellation of the VAT refund policy by the government. At the meeting, hundreds of other similarly well-known CEOs had the opportunity to express their thoughts to the Prime Minister.

Burberry chairman Gerry Murphy believes the decision to abolish VAT refunds on shopping has discouraged shoppers and partly affected the frequency of tourists visiting the country post-Brexit. For high-end consumers, tourist shopping cannot obtain corresponding VAT refunds, making the UK the "least attractive" shopping destination in Europe. Thinking about it in another place, it is indeed a problem.

Gerry Murphy said very firmly that the VAT refund policy canceled in 2021 will not only affect the luxury industry but also travel, hotels, airlines, and airports. Britain's departure from the European Union has created trade frictions and weighed on economic growth. Now it is necessary for key figures, such as the Prime Minister, to revise this policy.

Since Rishi Sunak took office, he has always attached importance to the relationship between the government and the business community. Speaking earlier at the meeting, he said, "We want businesses big and small to know this government has your back."

In response to Murphy's request, although the British government generally does not discuss tax policies publicly, due to Murphy's good reasons, Sunak kindly stated that "We take this matter very seriously and will look at relevant data to determine the actual impact of canceling VAT refunds, and then decide whether to resume the tax refund."

Due to the dual impact of the war in Ukraine and the epidemic, the UK's inflation remains high compared with surrounding countries, putting huge pressure on its domestic economy. The adjustment of relevant tax policies such as the tourist consumption tax must be a difficult issue, but in the end, it is the most secure to prove through the practical data that Sunak said.

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