UK bars to cut booze prices on Tax Equality Day

20th March, 2017 by Nicola Carruthers

Thousands of bars and restaurants across the UK will slash their prices by 7.5% for Tax Equality Day on 24 September highlighting the benefits of a cut in VAT in the sector.

Tax Equality Day highlights the benefit of a VAT reduction in the hospitality industry

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) is backing the day, alongside UK pub and bar chain JD Wetherspoon and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), and are calling on UK bar and restaurant operators to show their support.

The UK on-trade currently pays a 20% VAT rate on all food and drink sales.

“Tax equality day is a great opportunity to shine a light on how unfair VAT is for both pubs and the wider hospitality sector,” said Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of BBPA. “If you buy a meal in a supermarket you pay no VAT, but in the pub you pay 20%.”

“Even a small drop in the VAT rate for eating out, to 15%, would create 78,000 jobs, and would be a big boost for the economy. I hope pubs will get behind the campaign.”

JD Wetherspoon chairman, Tim Martin added: “Pubs suffer a huge disadvantage paying about 16 pence in business rates per pint versus about two pence for supermarkets.

“In addition there is a huge VAT inequality and unfairness. A reduction in the level of VAT on a long-term basis will create a level playing field and generate growth and jobs in an important and vital industry – especially in beleaguered high streets.”

Last month, JD Wetherspoon became the “first” UK pub and bar chain to detail calorie information for all drinks on its menu and website.

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