Didn’t realise but looks like Ali express now charging vat at point of sale for everything.
Low value consignment relief (LVCR) for items under £15 is also now abolished in UK. So no getting around it that way either.
Only ‘gifts’ are VAT free.
Good for larger items so you know you’re not getting a surprise cost and I’m guessing you won’t get the £8 Royal Mail charge for it now if it’s already paid.