Duty-free allowances double, thanks to Brown

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The Independent Online

From today, travellers returning to Britain from outside the European Union will be able to bring back double the amount of wine, electrical goods and souvenirs without paying tax.

The changes, the first since 1994, mean that holidaymakers can join the green "Nothing to declare" channel with four litres of wine, up from two, and the duty-free allowance for "other goods", such as electrical products and souvenirs, jumps from £145 to £300. That will be increased again to £340 from January because of the falling value of the pound.

Restrictions on perfumes have been removed and a new allowance of 16 litres of beer, previously classed among other goods, has been introduced.

Travellers can also now "mix and match" different kinds of alcohol and do the same with different tobacco products. The changes have been brought in by the EU after a proposal in 2004 by Gordon Brown, who was then the Chancellor.