For one day only, up to 15,000 pubs and restaurants across the UK will reduce their prices by 7.5 per cent as a rebellion against the current levels of VAT for the hospitality sector.
Pub chains JD Wetherspoon, Brains, Heineken, Shepherd Neame and Punch Taverns; family brewers Fuller’s and St Austell; and foodservice operators Pizza Hut and Subway are already backing the initiative, along with more than 500 independent Indian restaurants.
Nigel Wright, chief operating officer of one of the latest sign-ups, TCG, said: “By taking part in Tax Parity Day we’re able to promote the VAT campaign to our diverse customer base, at sites ranging from the world famous Tattershall Castle floating pub on the Thames, to our local pubs and city centre bars.”
TCG has also become a member of VAT Club Jacques Borel the campaign group which is aiming to reduce the level of VAT across the sector down to 5 per cent. It is hoped that Tax Parity Day will highlight the benefits of this proposed reduction.
Wright added: “The hospitality sector is a large employer, particularly of young people, and a major contributor to the Treasury. We think it’s fair to ask the Government to show support for the industry, especially since projections show the cut in VAT revenue would be balanced by increased taxes generated by higher levels of trade and more jobs in the sector.”
Leaflets and posters in all TCG’s outlets will explain the reasons for the price reduction, and encourage customers to support the campaign by writing to their MP.
Life, death and taxes
Meanwhile, Black Sheep Brewery is to reduce food and drink prices in its visitor centre on 25 September. Jo Theakston, sales and marketing director, said: “Tax is a huge issue for our sector and the results of the disparity which exists can, at least partly, be seen in the changing habits of people who are shunning pubs to eat and drink in the home.
“Tax Parity Day is a great opportunity to highlight the benefits of a tax cut. They say there are only two things which are guaranteed in this life, death and taxes, but it is certainly a healthier economy if the level of taxes paid increases because of a system which encourages growth, rather than companies paying higher taxes and contracting.”
The Jacques Borel VAT Club now has over 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.
Borel said: “A reduction in the level of VAT on a long-term basis will generate growth and create jobs in the important leisure and hospitality sector.”
Borel’s VAT Club recently wrote to every pub in the country,calling for their support in its on-going efforts to reduce VAT to 5 per cent. Publicans were asked to display a magazine, entitled ‘Taxing Times’, in their establishments for customers to read. Over 500,000 copies of the magazine have since been printed.
Download the letter and magazine: