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Holidaying Britons on their way to EU countries will save money under new post-Brexit regime

Holidaying Britons will once again be able to snap up cut-price alcohol on holidays to Europe under a new post-Brexit regime from January.  

Passengers making their way to EU countries from the UK are currently excluded from duty-free – but this is set to change once the transition period for leaving the European Union ends on December 31.

The Treasury today confirmed Brits can expect savings of £2.86 for a 75cl bottle of Champagne or Prosecco and £2.28 for six 50cl cans of four per cent ABV beer.

But as ‘booze cruises’ look set to return the limits on how much alcohol holidaymakers can bring back will also be increasing.

Passengers on their way to EU countries from the UK are currently excluded from duty-free – but this is set to change once the transition period for leaving the European Union ends on December 31 (file image)

The Treasury today confirmed Brits can expect savings of £2.86 for a 75cl bottle of Champagne or Prosecco and £2.28 for six 50cl cans of four per cent ABV beer (file image)

The ‘booze cruise’ phenomenon first took off in the 1990s, when British families would make the journey to Calais to grab bargains from wine warehouses and cart crates of alcohol home from their holidays. 

But the craze faded when UK stores started selling cheaper alcohol and the pound lost its strength against the euro. 

Last year the then Chancellor Sajid Javid told travellers to the EU they would soon be able to buy cigarettes and alcohol without paying any UK excise duties. 

His policy was supposed to be temporary, but the Treasury has now announced a permanent change.  

His original proposals have now been given the green light and holidaymakers will be able to bring three crates of beer, two cases of still wine and one case of sparkling wine into Britain without paying any UK duties. 

A UK excise duty will no longer be due on alcohol and tobacco bought when leaving Britain. 

Excise tax is any duty on manufactured goods levied at the moment of manufacture rather than at sale – so products without the duty will be cheaper to buy.

The changes are possible because, if Britain leaves without a deal, it will no longer be subject to EU single market rules which have been in place since 1999.

Excise tax is any duty on manufactured goods levied at the moment of manufacture rather than at sale - so products without the duty will be cheaper to buy (file image)

Excise tax is any duty on manufactured goods levied at the moment of manufacture rather than at sale – so products without the duty will be cheaper to buy (file image)

The post-transition passengers VAT and excise consultation was launched at Spring Budget 2020 and closed in May (file image)

It means those travelling back home will, for the first time in years, be able to bring back a limited amount of cigarettes and alcohol without paying duty. 

People will also have the alternative option to buy limited amounts of duty-free alcohol and cigarettes at duty free shops in Europe instead.

The limits will be 42 litres of beer, 18 litres of still wine, four litres of spirits or nine litres of sparkling wine, fortified wine or any alcoholic beverage less than 22 per cent ABV

For tobacco, the limits are 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco or 200 sticks of tobacco for heating or else any proportional combination of the above. 

The post-transition passengers VAT and excise consultation was launched at Spring Budget 2020 and closed in May.  

Last September, then chancellor Sajid Javid (pictured) told travellers to the EU they would be able to buy cigarettes and alcohol without paying any UK excise duties

Last September, then chancellor Sajid Javid (pictured) told travellers to the EU they would be able to buy cigarettes and alcohol without paying any UK excise duties

Last September Mr Javid said: ‘As we prepare to leave the EU, I’m pleased to be able to back British travellers. 

‘We want people to enjoy their hard-earned holidays and this decision will help holidaymakers’ cash go that little bit further.’  

Duty free was ended in Europe seven years after the EU single market came into force in 1992 but is still permitted for travellers going to non-EU countries. 

The decision on duty-free shopping in UK ports, airports, international train stations, ships, trains and planes will mean UK excise duty will no longer be due on alcohol and cigarettes bought when leaving the UK.      

People travelling back from the EU will still be able to bring unlimited amounts for their own use, provided they pay duty on the continent (file image)

People travelling back from the EU will still be able to bring unlimited amounts for their own use, provided they pay duty on the continent (file image)

Other changes include: the end of tax-free sales in airports of goods such as electronics and clothing for passengers travelling to non-EU countries; and the end of VAT refunds for overseas visitors in British shops.

The latest changes will apply to England, Wales and Scotland but it is unclear if they will also be implemented for Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

The decision to end tax-free sales came following concerns the tax-concession was not always passed on to consumers in the airport. 

A Treasury spokesman said: ‘In some instances these tax-free goods are brought back into the country by UK residents, putting high street retailers at a disadvantage.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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