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Seòmar agus comataidhean

Question ref. S6W-04803
Asked by: Paul McLennan, East Lothian, Scottish National Party
Date lodged: 3 December 2021


To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the (a) direct and (b) wider impact on the (i) retail and (ii) tourism sector in (A) the Lothians and (B) Scotland of the UK Government's decision to withdraw tax-free shopping from the start of 2021, and what representations it has made to UK ministers on the matter.

Current status: Answered by Kate Forbes on 22 December 2021


We have heard directly from retail businesses advising that the impact of these changes are already being felt, and that the new rules put Scottish and UK-wide businesses at a disadvantage when compared to other European destinations who continue to operate VAT refund schemes.

Following the announcement of the changes to tax-free shopping on 11 September 2020, the then Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, Fiona Hyslop, and I wrote a joint letter to the UK Chancellor opposing the proposed changes; especially at such a challenging time for businesses. No action was forthcoming from the UK Government, so on 20 December 2021 I sent a follow-up letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reiterate the Scottish Government’s concerns on the matter, and request any data and analysis on the impact of these changes.