JTourists will not benefit from the return of duty-free shopping in Britain as Jeremy Hunt sought to recoup £2billion in savings, drawing heavy criticism from industry leaders.

The Chancellor has said a new VAT-free shopping scheme for non-UK visitors – essentially allowing visitors to get a reduction in VAT on goods bought in shops and at airports – will not be implemented. in place, as part of efforts to restore stability in the UK. finance.

It is the latest about-face on the measure, with a previous duty-free shopping scheme having been in place until the end of 2020 when Rishi Sunak abolished it.

Former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng had launched a consultation on introducing a new scheme, saying he wanted shopping centers and airports to ‘feel the economic benefits’ of the millions of tourists coming to the UK.

Retailers said the U-turn on this will now come “like a hammer blow to UK tourism and the UK high street”.

Paul Barnes, chief executive of the Association of International Retail, said: “This short-sighted decision is based on inaccurate and incomplete projections, and risks hampering the return of international visitors who are key drivers of economic growth in all over the UK. “

Heathrow Airport bosses, meanwhile, called it a ‘bitter disappointment’ and said there was a risk of ‘further regression of high streets, shopping centres, ports and airports as we continue to lose to our European competitors”.