As well as supporting the national campaign to restore tax-free shopping in the UK, which was first abolished by the Government in January 2021 then reinstated by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng in September this year, the Knightsbridge Partnership BID is also campaigning on a further two important measures that will increase Knightsbridge’s attraction to international shoppers.
The BID is working closely with AIR (The Association of International Retail) and the Home Office on the introduction of a new ‘Electronic Travel Authorisation’ system to make it easier for visitors from high-spending countries to visit the UK, particularly those from Gulf Cooperation Council states. This new system will be operational in 2023.
The Knightsbridge Partnership is also supporting a campaign that will see Knightsbridge exempt from current Sunday Trading laws.
Steven Medway, CEO of the Knightsbridge Partnership explains:
“We want to add Knightsbridge, as one of two geographically defined International Centres in the Mayor’s London plan, to the list of exemptions in the 1994 Sunday Trading Act.
“This would allow Knightsbridge to open beyond six pm on Sundays, a restriction that currently puts Knightsbridge at a competitive disadvantage when compared to the majority of other global shopping destinations.
“It is been calculated that an additional two hours of trading on a Sunday would add around £350 million in net additional sales annually and support over 2,000 full-time equivalent jobs across the district.
“A simple clause in the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill, currently before Parliament would make the change, which would be limited just to these two small areas and have no impact on the rest of England.
“With a further 450 million Europeans now being eligible for tax free shopping in the UK following Brexit, and an estimated £500 million of additional spend per year that the reinstated tax free shopping will bring, it surely makes sense to open the shops for longer, giving them every opportunity to spend as much as they want.”