Labor calls on government to ban exports of UK luxury goods to Russia
Labor is calling on the government to ban the export of British luxury goods to Russia as part of the sanctions package against Vladimir Putin’s regime.
Shadow International Trade Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the government must crack down on companies like Burberry and Vivienne Westwood selling their wares to Russia to ensure that “Putin and his entourage cannot live a lifestyle Mayfair in Moscow” as he waged a bloody war in Ukraine.
Wealthy Russians are known to be the biggest buyers of luxury brands across Europe, with Putin’s billionaire oligarchs splashing out tons of cash in the continent’s capitals.
The UK contributes to this with some of its major luxury brands, with more than £100million worth of cosmetics, watches, clothing and jewelery sent to Russia each year, according to government figures.
Boris Johnson has imposed sweeping sanctions on the Russian financial services industry and halted the export of British high-tech products to the country.
“We can and must do more. We on these benches are calling for a total ban on luxury goods exports to Russia,” Thomas-Symonds told MPs.
“Cutting the supply of luxury goods would send an additional signal to Putin’s Kremlin, which, by the way, has often accumulated wealth and possessions at the expense of the Russian people. We can act on this and we can act now.
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan did not make a commitment in her response to Labour’s appeals.
She said the government “tightened the screws so that Putin and his regime found it increasingly difficult to sustain their military campaigns, but also that they no longer had access to their funds.”
The UK has come under fire in recent days for not doing more to personally punish oligarchs close to the Kremlin and freeze their UK assets.
The UK has only sanctioned eight billionaire allies of Putin, while the EU has sanctioned more people and higher profile targets.
There were reports today that French and German authorities have seized Russian superyachts worth hundreds of millions of pounds, prompting Tory MP Tom Tugendhat to tweet that ‘we have apartments that must be entered – now”.