Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024
alert-–-kemi-badenoch’s-trade-mission-to-japan-to-promote-british-luxury-firms-is-branded-‘ironic’-by-business-leaders-as-they-criticise-the-uk’s-tourist-taxAlert – Kemi Badenoch’s trade mission to Japan to promote British luxury firms is branded ‘ironic’ by business leaders as they criticise the UK’s tourist tax

A mission to promote UK luxury firms in Japan was questioned yesterday by critics of a shopping tax on visitors to Britain.

Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch is in Tokyo with high-end British retailers hoping to boost their exports.

But the trip comes after more than 400 business leaders called for the return of VAT-free shopping for overseas tourists.

Burberry and Harrods were among big names to sign a letter to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt demanding the perk be restored. Their pleas have been echoed in a prominent Mail campaign.

Sir Rocco Forte, the leading hotelier who organised the open letter, said: ‘It is ironic that Rishi Sunak has sent the Trade Secretary on a mission to promote luxury businesses when his Government has cut this sector off at the knees with its hated tourist tax.

Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch (pictured) is in Tokyo with high-end British retailers hoping to boost their exports

Burberry and Harrods were among big names to sign a letter to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt (pictured) demanding the perk be restored. Their pleas have been echoed in a prominent Mail campaign

Burberry and Harrods were among big names to sign a letter to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt demanding the perk be restored. Their pleas have been echoed in a prominent Mail campaign

‘It is no good ministers turning up in foreign countries seeking to bang the drum for British businesses when we are sending a signal to tourists that the UK is closed for business.’

READ MORE: Britain’s oldest casino Crockfords closes down after 195 years as it blames the lack of high-end tourists coming to London for hurting business 

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Anda Rowland, of the Savile Row tailor Anderson & Sheppard, said promoting luxury businesses on the international stage was ‘all very well’ but ‘this is no good when at home they are implementing the most self-defeating policy in terms of the tourist tax’.

She added: ‘Big and small retailers across the board are seeing a clear impact in terms of lower tourist footfall and spending. 

‘Our customers are spending less time in the UK.

‘The whole economy is losing out in terms of spending on hospitality, transport, the arts and so on. What concerns us most is what this means for the future of our younger workforce, apprentices and specialist UK-based skills.’

Delegates in Japan include representatives from firms that have backed the Mail’s campaign, including leather brand Ettinger. 

The Department for Business and Trade made no comment.

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