Wetherspoon’s 900-plus UK pubs will cut the price of all food and drink by 7.5% on Tax Equality Day, as chairman calls on pub and restaurant operators to show their support.
Tim Martin has the backing of the Association of Licensed Multiple Operators and the British Beer and Pub Association, who are calling on their members to join in too.
Tax Equality Day, Wednesday 20 September, is aimed at highlighting the benefit of a VAT reduction in the hospitality industry. Prices at Wetherspoon pubs will be reduced for one day only, in order to show the benefits of a VAT cut.
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.
'Pubs suffer a huge disadvantage paying about 16 pence in business rates per pint versus about two pence for supermarkets,' Martin said. '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.'
Martin said he is aiming to make it the busiest day of the entire year in his pubs and would urge other pub and restaurant operators to participate too.
'Tax Equality Day is a great opportunity to shine a light on how unfair VAT is for both pubs and the wider hospitality sector,' British Beer & Pub Association chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, added.
'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 per cent, would create 78,000 jobs and would be a big boost for the economy. I hope pubs will get behind the campaign.'