HC Deb 05 December 1989 vol 163 c125W
Mr. Austin Mitchell

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proposals he is making to the European Economic Community on the future of duty-free allowances for travellers within the European Economic Community; what studies have been carried out by his Department of the costs of benefits of(a) increase and (b) abolition; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ryder

[holding answer 30 November 1989]: The Commission recently proposed transitional increases in the travellers' allowances for goods obtained duty and tax-paid in another EC country. Between 1990 and 1992 limits would rise in three stages from 300 to 600 cigarettes, 1.5 to 3 litres of spirits and from £250 to about £1,000 for goods subject only to VAT.

The Government welcome these proposals and would indeed prefer to see a single early increase rather than three stages; but decisions have not yet been taken by the Council. An immediate increase to the levels proposed would cost about £17 million a year.

The Commission has made no proposals affecting allowances for passengers arriving from outside the EC, where the Government would also like to see higher limits. Nor have proposals been made affecting goods obtained duty—and tax-free within the EC, but the Commission's assumption is that duty-free shopping for intra-EC travel will cease after 1992.