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Double up on your duty free

Travellers can now bring back more than double the amount of gifts and souvenirs from outside the EU without paying UK duty. The changes are as a result of a proposal that Gordon Brown made to the European Commission in 2004. The government has announced an increase to the allowance for what are known as 'other goods', which includes souvenirs, clothing, electrical goods and perfume.

The tax and duty free allowance increased from £145 to £300 from 1 December 2008. The allowance is due to rise again to £340 in January 2009. This further increase is to take account of recent changes in the sterling/Euro exchange rate.

Travellers and holiday makers will also be able to bring back more alcohol, with a new allowance for beer of 16 litres and a doubling in the allowance of still wine, from two to four litres.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Timms, said:

‘This new rate for all EU member states will be a welcome boost to holiday makers and all others travelling outside the EU. The changes stem from an initiative by the then Chancellor, Gordon Brown, and demonstrate the benefits of the UK working at the heart of Europe. ‘

Internet link: Press release



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