Treasury urges airport shops to pass on VAT saving

BOARDING PASS: Some customers are now refusing to hand theirs over.

THE Treasury has called on retailers at UK airports to cut prices in line with the VAT discounts they receive for customers who are travelling to a destination outside of Europe. 

High street names with outlets at airports across Britain, including Boots, Dixons and WHSmith, who ask customers for their boarding cards at the checkout, scan the tickets because they don’t have to pay the 20 per cent VAT on goods sold to passengers heading out of Europe. But they’ve been accused of failing to pass the discount on to customers.

British newspaper the Independent revealed the discrepancy, and Treasury Minister David Gauke told them: “The VAT relief at airports is intended to reduce prices for travellers, not as a windfall gain for shops.

“While many retailers do pass this saving on to customers it is disappointing that some are choosing not to. We urge all airside retailers to use this relief for the benefit of their customers.”

Now passengers are up in arms and refusing to show their boarding cards at checkouts, after years of many of us assuming that it was a legal requirement. It’s a campaign that could build some momentum.

Money saving expert Martin Lewis said: “People withholding their boarding passes will force companies to take note and eventually take action.”

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