Kemi Badenoch ‘breaks ranks’ with the Government over tourist tax

  • Government said they will not row back on the tax introduced by predecessor

Kemi Badenoch appeared to break ranks with the Government over the controversial tourist tax that was reintroduced after last year’s mini-budget.

The Business Secretary said companies had raised the issue of bringing back VAT-free shopping with her ‘a lot’ and that she was ‘very keen for them to know we understand the arguments that they’re making’.

Her comments are some of the most positive yet from a Cabinet Minister and appear to put her at odds with the Government, which insists it will not row back on the tax.

Kemi Badenoch’s comments are some of the most positive yet from a Cabinet Minister

This is despite repeated warnings that tourists are now heading to rival European cities such as Milan and Paris.

VAT-free shopping allows travellers to buy items in the UK to claim back VAT as they return home.

The Mail has spearheaded a campaign which has the support of more than 400 businesses calling for it to be ditched.

Pictrued, Kwasi Kwarteng who announced the mini-budget with then Prime Minister Liz Truss

Economists at the Centre for Economics and Business Research estimate the tax is costing the UK £10.7billion in lost GDP and putting off two million travellers from visiting each year.

A Treasury spokesman said VAT-free shopping ‘does not directly benefit Brits’.

The spokesman added: ‘Evidence shows that the key motivators for tourists visiting the UK are our rich history and heritage, and vibrant towns and cities – not shopping.’

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