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Government announces increased Duty Free allowances

Government announces increased Duty Free allowances

UK BORDER AGENCY News Release issued by COI News Distribution Service. 1 December 2008

- Passengers arriving from outside EU benefit from new duty free laws -

From today (December 1) UK residents travelling from outside of the European Union will be able to bring back an increased amount of duty free shopping, following the first changes to customs allowances in 15 years.

The changes to current restrictions, announced by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in partnership with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), see the allowance for goods such as electrical products and souvenirs double from £145 to £3001. Additional changes include:

* Increase from 2 litres to 4 litres of wine
* New allowance of 16 litres of beer
* Restrictions on volume of fragrance removed
* Option to mix and match on tobacco products
* Option to mix and match on alcohol products

The changes have been brought in by the EU to cover all member states with the intention to make duty free laws more in line with the needs of the travelling public. The updates follow a proposal in 2004 from the Chancellor of the Exchequer at that time, Gordon Brown.

New survey results from UKBA and YouGov show that the new duty free laws are set to benefit many. Half of those polled are planning a trip abroad in the next six months 2 with one in five planning to go to the USA and one in ten heading for Asia. A quarter of those surveyed travel abroad 2 - 3 times a year and over a third of those planning a trip in the next 6 months (37%) intend to go to destinations beyond Europe.

While many Brits enjoy duty free shopping, less than half of travellers felt confident that they were staying within the limits for general goods such as clothing and electronics. This could explain why the most popular choice of advisor for those shopping abroad would be money expert Martin Lewis followed by fashionista Gok Wan

Frances Tuke, ABTA spokesperson said: "Travel habits and consumer spending have changed significantly over the past 15 years. Whether the destination is New York or New Delhi, the purpose business or pleasure, these new allowances bring greater freedom for the public.

"The duty free goods laws now match the needs of the ever adventurous 21st century traveller - this announcement is great news for travellers and the industry".

New posters and leaflets will be carried in ports and airports in the UK from 1st of December to inform passengers of the changes. Travellers who exceed the limits or bring in banned goods may be subject to penalties. For further information please visit http://www.direct.gov.uk/dutyfree from 1 December.

ENDS
Notes to editors:
* Changes in the legislation are to be implemented throughout Europe from 1 December 2008, with an additional increase to 'other goods' allowance coming into effect from 1 January 2009, to take account of the exchange rate between Sterling and the Euro.

* The last European-wide amendments to the allowances on duty free goods were made in 1994, and they apply to goods brought into the UK from outside of the European community.

* A detailed factsheet outlining the full changes to allowances, including conditions, is available on request.
1 - To be increased to £340 on 1 January 2009 to take account of the exchange rate between Sterling and the Euro. Passengers travelling by private planes and boats [used for pleasure purposes] will be entitled to £210 from 1 December, rising to £240 from 1 January 2009.

2 - Survey conducted via YouGov on behalf of the UK Border Agency amongst a nationally representative sample (2059) of adults aged 18+ in the UK, from November 11 to 13 2008.

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