Tax Parity Day: Borel's VAT Club plans national day of action

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

The VAT Club is distributing 250,000 posters to venues across the UK in order to highlight Tax Parity Day
The VAT Club is distributing 250,000 posters to venues across the UK in order to highlight Tax Parity Day
UK hospitality businesses are charged 20 per cent VAT on all sales, whereas the supermarkets pay virtually no VAT on food sales. Is this far? The VAT Club JB, headed up by veteran campaigner Jacques Borel, certainly doesn’t think so and is launching a national day of action.

Borel, who is aiming to reduce the level of VAT across the sector down to 5 per cent, is organising a Tax Parity Day across the country which will take place on Wednesday 25 September.

Publicans, restaurateurs and foodservice operators are being called upon to reduce their prices by 7.5 per cent for the day, in order to highlight the benefits of the proposed reduction.

“Our aim is to secure a more equal tax treatment for food sold through pubs, restaurants and food service operators - compared to supermarkets, which benefit from a zero VAT rate,” said Borel.

“We are calling on supporters of the campaign to reduce their prices by 7.5 per cent for one day. “This is the amount by which we believe that prices would fall if VAT were cut to five per cent, on the assumption that 60 per cent of any reduction would be passed onto the customer in lower prices.

“So, for example, the total price of a meal and drinks for a family of four would be reduced from £60 to £54.60 on Tax Parity Day.”

A 7.5 per cent reduction on the day could lead to an increased turnover of between 10 and 12 per cent for operators taking part, as they would attract more customers to their outlets – a similar campaign in France saw an 8 per cent rise in sales on the day of action.

Win-win

Tax Parity Day is therefore being fully supported by The VAT Club’s members, which include pub operator JDWetherspoon, restaurant group Pizza Hut, and motorway service operator Roadchef.

Tax-parity-day
The VAT Club is calling on pubs and restaurants across the UK to reduce their prices by 7.5 per cent for Tax Parity Day.

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “Wetherspoon wholeheartedly supports Jacques’ initiative for Tax Parity Day - we’re aiming to make it our busiest day of the entire year.

“Creating tax parity between pubs, restaurants and supermarkets will fulfil many Government objectives. It will create more jobs and it will raise the amount of taxes the Government receive, since pubs and restaurants pay more taxes and create more jobs than supermarkets.

“It’s a win-win situation for the Government, voters and our industry.”

Pizza Hut’s UK chief executive Jens Hofma added: “We are strong supporters of Tax Parity.

“It will create a fairer competitive environment and contribute to the growth of a vibrant going-out environment.”

The Jacques Borel VAT Club now has 40 members made up of companies from across the pub, restaurant, hotel, brewing and foodservice sectors.​Borel has campaigned effectively for the level of VAT in the hospitality sector to be reduced in a number of other European countries.

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2 comments

Pardon Barry?

Posted by Jon McDevitt,

It's been shown in numerous other countries that this measure does in fact create jobs and increase tax revenue. That's why it's been brought in and kept in Europe.

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Flogging a dead horse

Posted by Barry Mills,

This is never going to happen. There's no sensible case for it - food ingredients are a necessity, eating out is a luxury. The government can't afford it. And it doesn't stack up.

The 8% increase in sales on the comparable day in France pretty much proves there is no case for this change. It's absurd to suggest that because a one-off day gets 8%, this would apply every day if a general change was made. If you heavily publicise that eating out next Wednesday is going to be cheaper for one day, of course a few people will make the effort. Most of these will just be switching from Tuesday or Thursday. If the discount is there all the time, there is no incentive.

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