For 15 years the limit of duty-free shopping could amount to a maximum of £145. From January onwards the limit will be fixed at a grand £340! And, just so that we don't get tempted to bring back more than we can carry, here is the breakdown:
- Perfume and aftershave: no limits - Wine: 4 litres - Beer: 16 litres - Liquor (up to 22% volume) and fortified wine: stays the same, but are interchangeable with the new law. The limits are still 1 litre of liquor and 2 litres of fortified wine, but you can now buy 3 litres all together of either liquor or fortified wine. - Tobacco: The limits have not changed, but travellers can now pick and mix their choices of tobacco. The maximum is still set at 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars, 250g of rolling tobacco or the equivalent with the new law.
This battle has lasted four years and dates back to the days of Gordon Brown as chancellor. He put forth the query which has now been accepted and will be applicable from January 1st 2009.
Don't be tempted to take more than allowed, as customs will crack down on law-breakers through random searches - no one escapes paying the duty on all items if the limit is exceeded, the rest of the punishment will be decided on the spot depending on the circumstances.