Wetherspoon urges UK bars to cut prices for Tax Equality Day

31st July, 2018 by Nicola Carruthers

British pub chain JD Wetherspoon is calling on the UK on-trade to slash its prices by 7.5% for Tax Equality Day on 13 September.

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

UK Hospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association are also backing the day and calling on their members to join in.

Wetherspoon pubs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will cut the price of all food and drink by 7.5% on the day.

Tax Equality day is aimed at highlighting the benefit of a VAT reduction in the hospitality industry. The UK on-trade currently pays a 20% VAT rate on all food and drink sales.

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

“We’re aiming to make it the busiest day of the entire year in our pubs and would urge other pub and restaurant operators to participate too.”

UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls, said: “Tax Equality Day is a great way to highlight just how hospitality businesses are disproportionately hit by VAT.

“The tax disparity between the hospitality sector and supermarkets is still far too high. Pubs are paying around a third of their turnover in tax compared to a fifth for big supermarkets able to sell alcohol at very cheap prices.

“A cut in the rate of VAT for the hospitality sector can help address this unfairness and allow pubs and bars to invest in their businesses and staff members.

“We hope that everyone will support this year’s Tax Equality Day and send a clear and unequivocal message to the chancellor to give the sector the VAT cut it deserves.”

Nigel Evans, MP for Ribble Valley, said: “This year’s Tax Equality Day has a special significance as it could be the final year before it achieves its goal as a result of the tax cutting freedoms which Brexit will endow the government with.”

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