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Tim Martin, ALMR and BBPA call on operators to back Tax Equality Day
16/03/2017 - 08:45
Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) are calling on pub and restaurant operators to show their support for a Tax Equality Day on September 20th.
Written by Andrew McClean
All 900 Wetherspoon pubs across the UK will be cutting the price of all food and drink by 7.5% on the day to highlight the benefit of a VAT reduction in the hospitality industry. The ALMR and BBPA have also called on members to get involved.
Martin said: “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.
“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.”
The pub chain said that at present all food in pubs is subject to 20% VAT, compared to supermarkets which benefit from a zero VAT rate on the vast majority of food products.
BBPA chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, and ALMR chief executive, Kate Nicholls, both called the day an opportunity to shine a light on how unfair VAT is for the sector.
Simmonds, said: “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.”
Nicholls, said: “Two thirds of customers have said that they would spend more if VAT was lower and just over half said that they would spend more on eating and drinking out.
“As business rates and rising inflation continue to squeeze the sector, a cut in VAT not only levels the playing fields in terms of fairness, it is also a simple way to help boost a vital engine of economic growth.”