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Promoting Britain abroad: Committee publishes Government response

2 February 2023

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee publishes the Government response to its report on promoting Britain abroad.

The report, published in October, examined how tourism could recover from the Covid pandemic and concluded that Government policies had made the industry’s job harder rather than easier, by making it more difficult for visitors to visit and less likely to spend.

It also concluded that the removal of tax-free shopping for visitors from abroad was ‘both short-sighted and incredibly damaging’ to UK tourism and criticised the Government’s pre-removal analysis of the impact of the decision.

The Committee recommended that the Government should allow children and young people under the age of 18, travelling as part of a supervised educational or cultural group visit, to enter the UK on a single group ID card. It also called for the Government to negotiate an agreement with the EU to provide a single-entry document for performers to submit to any EU country they wish to visit.

In its response, the Government fails to commit to publishing an assessment of the direct and indirect impact of withdrawing from the VAT Retail Export Scheme, instead citing its assessment of its impact prior to its withdrawal. It also rejects the Committee’s recommendation to allow children and young people from abroad to use ID cards to visit Britain and steps to make it easier for performers to visit EU countries.

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