‘Tourists will spend’: London shoppers share views on mini budget | Mini budget 2022

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ONEs shoppers descended on Oxford Street in Londonin black cabs or on foot to visit the city’s exclusive boutiques on Friday, a massive sign at Selfridges towered overhead: “Let’s change the way we shop.”

However, the change may be somewhat different than intended. Soon the area may benefit from two plans announced by the Chancellor, Quasi QuartengFriday: the return of duty-free shopping to the high street and the abolition of 45% income tax.

Rita Walters
Rita Walters welcomed the government’s decision to scrap the 45% tax rate. Photo: Antonio Zazueta Elms/The Guardian

Afterwards, out of Selfridges with the unmistakable yellow bag dangling from the hook of her arm, Rita Waters, 66, welcomed Kwarteng’s mini-budget. Although the VAT change will not change her shopping habits as a British citizen, she felt positive about the decision to scrap the extra tax on those whose annual income was more than £150,000.

“And that will filter down,” said Waters, who is retired. “It will filter down to the people who don’t pay tax, but maybe they have more money in their pocket than the treasury.”

As a lifelong Conservative voter, she said the budget will give her more to spend and give to food banks. “And hope the others will too,” she added.

While she praises other changes, such as the stamp duty, she wishes there had been a windfall tax on the energy companies. “Give them a chance,” she said of the government’s fiscal plans. “Give them a chance.”

Theresa Cladney and friends
Theresa Cladney, left, wants the duty-free process to be easier, just like it is in the US. Photo: Antonio Zazueta Elms/The Guardian

Like many international travelers who visit London’s high streets, shoe designers Theresa Cladney and Angelique Joseph, who hail from the Midwest, will soon discover that shopping in the UK is going to cost them less than before.

“I think it would be great as long as you don’t have to go through the hassle of the process,” said Cladney, recalling hours wasted in airports to return. “If it was an easy process like it is in the US, where, that day you just don’t get taxed and you don’t have to do anything. It’s about convenience. As everything goes up. It would be nice to see something go down slightly.”

Kwarteng intends to digitize the new system and end the old pen-and-paper format.

The re-introduction of a tax-free shopping scheme, which was previously abolished in 2021 following Brexit, will enable tourists to claim back VAT on goods bought on the high street, at airports and other points of departure and exported from the UK in their personal luggage.

The move, which will cost almost DKK 1.3 billion. sterling in 2024-2025, comes as the pound plunges to new lows against foreign currencies and the country battles its highest inflation rates in four decades.

Nouria Hafid
Nouria Hafid says that the change will provide greater returns for companies and employees’ salaries. Photo: Antonio Zazueta Elms/The Guardian

For Nouria Hafid, who has worked on Bond Street for years selling high-end jewellery, the change will not only bring greater returns for the company, but also the employees’ salaries – which are commission-based.

“I think it will be really good because, to be honest, tourists are back in London after Covid, they are here, they have money and they want to spend,” said Hafid, 32, who has seen an increase in the clientele from the USA, China and existing Middle Eastern customers in London.

“All the luxury comes from foreigners traveling here,” added Hafid, who has previously seen a loss of customers traveling to France and elsewhere to shop duty-free. “We had to lower the prices of our products a little in order to be able to play with the market, but still it is not good enough. We lose money on that.”

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