Top fashion brand to the stars loved by Dua Lipa backs demands to scrap the tourist tax
- London-based label Poster Girl said VAT stop tourists planning trips to the UK
- The company has a cult following with its dresses being worn by top celebrities
A fashion brand loved by stars such as Dua Lipa has joined industry calls for Britain’s tourist tax to be ditched.
London-based label Poster Girl said slapping VAT on tourist shopping is deterring people from planning trips to the UK or spending money if they do come here.
The company – which has a cult following with its dresses worn by celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, singer Selena Gomez and actress Megan Fox – is backing the Mail’s ‘Scrap the Tourist Tax’ campaign.
Daliah Hearn, Poster Girl’s global chief of operations, told The Mail on Sunday that 20 per cent VAT refunds for overseas shoppers should be reinstated to ‘reinvigorate the economy’.
She said of the 2021 decision to scrap the long-standing refunds: ‘With no tax-free shopping advantage, why would tourists select the UK as a shopping destination?’
London-based label Poster Girl, loved by stars such as Dua Lipa, said slapping VAT on tourist shopping is deterring people from planning trips to the UK or spending money
She claimed that rival shopping hotspots including Paris and Milan were now ‘full of tourists’ snapping up luxury goods.
More than 300 leading business chiefs from across the retail, hospitality and tourism sectors, and dozens of senior MPs – including two ex-Chancellors – have voiced support for the Mail’s campaign.
High street giants such as Primark, Jigsaw and Swatch have added their backing.
Ms Hearn said the tourist tax ‘is having a knock-on effect on the hotel industry’.
Her brand is sold online and in luxury stores Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, whose bosses have also hit out at the tax.
Poster Girl began in 2017 after its founders Francesca Capper and Natasha Somerville met studying fashion design at Central Saint Martins university in London.
Other big names to highlight damage caused by the levy include Harold Tillman, former head of fashion brand Jaeger and luxury retailer Aquascutum, who said: ‘We are not helping ourselves with this unnecessary tax.’
Philippa Nixon, chief executive of fashion house Erdem, joined Burberry and Mulberry in saying a tax cut would encourage tourists to shop in Britain, not continental Europe.
The company – which has a cult following with its dresses worn by celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, singer Selena Gomez (left) and actress Megan Fox (right) – is backing the Mail’s ‘Scrap the Tourist Tax’ campaign
Ms Nixon, whose brand’s floral dresses have been worn by the Princess of Wales, said: ‘London is the capital of creative expression and we should be encouraging the world to visit us.’ An open letter to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt organised by hotelier Sir Rocco Forte calling for the tax to be axed now has 320 signatures, including that of beauty entrepreneur Charlotte Tilbury.
The Treasury argues reinstating tax-free shopping would cost £2billion a year but research suggests there would be a net gain of around £350million a year because of additional spending on hotels, restaurants and transport.
Businesses add a boost in tourist numbers would not only inject more spending into the economy in London, but also across the UK, generating separate tax revenue.
Last month the Office for National Statistics revealed that visits to Britain were down by seven per cent in October to December last year, compared to the same period in 2019.
Industry experts said the absence of tax-free shopping had been a major factor in tourists deciding not to come here.
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