Businesses in the UK who sell small value items by mail order have long complained that they are undercut by shipments coming in from the Channel Islands. This is due to the operation of low value consignment relief (LVCR), which exempts from VAT parcels coming into the UK from outside the EU, where the value of the goods is less than a prescribed limit. The Channel Islands are outside the EU, but close enough to the UK to make shipping relatively cheap.
The limit per parcel for LVCR was £18 for years, but it was reduced to £15 from 1 November 2011. HMRC have just announced that the LVCR will be removed altogether from 1 April 2012 for goods imported from the Channel Islands. This change should help UK based businesses, but will not help the distribution centres and flower growers in the Channel Islands