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Chancellor announces return of duty-free

The Chancellor will today (10 September 2019) announce the return of duty-free shopping with EU countries if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

  • People travelling to the EU will be able to take advantage of duty free shopping meaning they won’t have to pay UK excise duties on cigarettes and alcohol
  • People travelling back from the EU will still be able to bring back unlimited amounts for their own use, if they pay duty in Europe
  • Policy will apply in the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal

Passengers travelling to EU countries will be able to buy beer, spirits, wine and tobacco without duty being applied in the UK, thanks to the lifting of EU rules.

The decision on duty-free shopping in UK ports, airports and international train stations will mean:

  • UK excise duty will no longer be due on alcohol and cigarettes bought when leaving the UK. A bottle of wine purchased in Heathrow duty free on the way to the EU could be up to £2.23 cheaper
  • At the point of leaving the EU, people can continue to purchase and bring home unlimited alcohol and cigarettes in Europe if they pay duty on it there – as is the case currently
  • People will now also have the alternative option to buy limited amounts of duty-free alcohol and cigarettes at duty free shops in Europe instead. For example, a holidaymaker could save more than £12 on two crates of beer. The travel industry has been calling on the government to re-introduce duty-free, which stopped when the EU Single Market was introduced.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said:

As we prepare to leave the EU, I’m pleased to be able to back British travellers.

We want people to enjoy their hard-earned holidays and this decision will help holidaymakers’ cash go that little bit further.

Duty-free shopping is already permitted for travellers going to non-EU countries.

A consultation will also be launched shortly on our long term duty-free policy.


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