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Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation, keynote presentations and workshops for corporate organisations on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. He operated at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book. Journalist and Broadcaster. After-dinner speaker and presenter.

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Wednesday, 12 August 2015

UK TREASURY MINISTER SAYS VAT RELIEF IS FOR AIRPORT PASSENGERS NOT AIRSIDE SHOP OWNERS

High Street Shops are closing due to internet on line shopping

Airport shop owners are being shamed into passing on VAT savings made from air bound passengers who show boarding cards at the point of purchase, so retailers can document who is flying to non-EU countries; and the shop avoids paying 20% VAT on customers' purchases!
    
Treasury minister David Gauke said VAT relief at airports was intended to reduce prices for travellers, not a windfall gain for shops; however it's not illegal, but is being challenged by some passengers.    
   
Despite the attitude of some shopworkers who demand production of flight documents and even passports, customers are not legally required to show them when buying goods at the airport. 
Aviation expert Julian Bray told BBC Radio Ulsters Lunchtime BBC Talkback programme the term 'Duty Free' belongs to a bygone age :"These days it just means the airport retailer profits from Duty Free rather than the passenger, as prices are on a par with the High Street and still more expensive than online internet shopping. Sainsburys for example have just today pulled out of a huge newly completed Middlesbrough development and blamed changing shopping habits and Internet online operations."
Simon Calder, The Independent Newspaper Travel Editor (who must by now hold the broadcasting blue riband Concorde award for the most number of live broadcast outlets covered inside four hours),    told BBC Radio 5 live : "If you take a £6 bottle of sun cream the VAT element is £1.
   
"So if you fly to Greece, the retailer pays that to the government, if you fly to Turkey and the retailer can find out, then it goes straight into their pockets - nothing illegal about it at all but I will always challenge it."
   
He said "all kinds of stories" had been given by retailers to explain why passengers should show their boarding passes, including that it is for security reasons, which he said is "complete tosh".

Mr Calder added: "They [retail staff] have just been told 'you have to ask for a boarding pass', which is why you get nonsense like when you buy a book or a magazine or newspaper and there is no VAT anyway, and they still want to know where you are flying to - even though it doesn't make the slightest bit of difference to anybody."
   
Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis said: "People withholding their boarding passes will force companies to take note and eventually take action."
   
Mr Lewis told BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine programme that travellers should ignore claims by retail staff that showing a boarding pass is obligatory.
   
"You're not protecting the sanctity of Britain by giving them your boarding pass, you are enabling the commercial company to get a reduction on its tax bill," he said.
   
A spokesman for Boots, one of many retailers who operate in UK airports, said the company did claim back some VAT for non-EU passengers but added that this was in accordance with the rules set out by the government.
   
WHSmith said it would be impossible to have a pricing system which distinguished between travellers to EU and non-EU destinations.  Which would seem to be highly improbable, however you cut it.... 

Over 7.29 million passengers passed through London Heathrow airport in 2014 and the figures for air travel are still rising. A back of an envelope calculation suggests some £30 million bonus revenue for the airport retailers has been harvested from London Heathrow air travellers alone.

Perhaps it would be better all round if the 'duty free' shop was confined to the destination airport? But in reality that'll never happen!  

SOURCE: BBC NEWS, CNS,


JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Operations Expert, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, EQUITY, NUJ, Broadcast COOBE ISDN ++44 (0)1733 345020 (DUAL CODEC) SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Cell: 07944 217476 or iPhone 0743 530 3145 www.aviationcomment.com # # # VENDOR 10476453 http://feeds.feedburner.com/BraysDuckhouseBlog
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