Tourist tax is hurting all UK, says Jeweller


Britain’s tourist tax is damaging the UK – not just London, says the boss of luxury jeweller Berry’s

Golden touch: Cartier, worn here by Rita Ora, would be boosted if the tax is scrapped

Golden touch: Cartier, worn here by Rita Ora, would be boosted if the tax is scrapped

Britain’s tourist tax is damaging the UK – not just London, says the boss of a luxury jeweller.

Simon Walton, managing director of Berry’s, said spending by visitors has dried up in places such as York after VAT-free shopping ended.

His comments highlight that it is not only big luxury businesses such as Burberry – whose boss Gerry Murphy said the policy was a ‘spectacular own goal’ – which are suffering. 

Walton said: ‘The tourists may be coming but they are certainly not spending because of the restrictions on tax-free shopping.’

Berry’s has 12 stores in Leeds, Nottingham, Hull, Windsor, Newcastle and York and more than 120 staff. But sales are down as fewer Chinese shoppers visit.

He said: ‘They used to have two, three hours of shopping in York. There’s lovely streets that were full of Chinese tourists from June to October and there’s now very few – the ones who are coming are clearly not shopping.’

Walton said Chinese visitors would typically buy watches worth thousands of pounds.

Tourists are instead taking advantage of tax breaks in Europe, he said, hitting destinations such as Cambridge, Edinburgh, Bath and Windsor. He rejected claims the Treasury could not afford to bring back tax breaks for tourists.



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