JD Wetherspoon 'can no longer support' VAT Club

By James Wallin

- Last updated on GMT

VAT Club founder Jacques Borel and Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin
VAT Club founder Jacques Borel and Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin

Related tags: Vat cut, Vat club, Tax

JD Wetherspoon has announced it has pulled out of the VAT Club Jacques Borel, according to BigHospitality's sister publication M&C Allegra Foodservice.

However, the company said it will continue to campaign for a VAT reduction on food and drink within the hospitality sector and aims to set up a new organisation to continue the campaign.

Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin, who has been the Club’s most vocal supporter, said: “Jacques Borel has done an amazing job campaigning for a VAT cut over the past five years. He has led the way and has made great progress in terms of raising the profile of the case for a VAT cut and also for engaging with MPs and policy makers.

“I hope that those in the industry will appreciate the time and effort that he has put into the campaign. It is a shame that some big companies have not supported the campaign to date.

“I have decided that Wetherspoon can no longer support the VAT Club JB in its present form and believe there now needs to be an alliance of companies who believe, as I do, that a VAT cut is vital for the future of the hospitality sector. I will be working hard in the coming weeks to take this forward.”

Earlier this year, Borel told M&C he has revised his target for a reduction in VAT for hospitality firms because he was warned by politicians that an immediate cut to 5 per cent was unrealistic.

Borel’s new offer to Government is a cut to 10 per cent  VAT on food and alcohol under 15 per cent  ABV for three years before a further cut to 5 per cent.

Borel told M&C the reduction would give firms the breathing space necessary to absorb the impact of both the introduction of the pubs code and the National Living Wage.

He admitted that membership of his VAT Club had remained flat through the uncertainty of the general election and its aftermath but said he was in “advanced negotiations” with a further 25 potential new members.

He also said there would be no Tax Equality Day 2016, saying “we did a second to prove that the first was not just luck”.

Related topics: Business, People, Pubs & Bars

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