The poster, which bears the CAMRA logo, carries the slogan Sunak’s Specials and reads: ‘Rishi Sunak, legend: the man who instigated tax inequality between supermarkets and pubs’ alongside an image of four ales and their reduced prices.
However, the organisations say that the VAT cut does not apply to alcohol and that the poster misleads customers into believing beer prices are cheaper because of the cut in VAT.
“A recent promotional poster from pub chain JD Wetherspoon has made it necessary for us to clarify that the Chancellor’s temporary VAT reduction only applies to food served in pubs, and excludes alcoholic drink sales which many traditional local pubs rely on for survival,” says Tom Stainer, chief executive of CAMRA, and James Calder, chief executive of SIBA.
“Like all pubs, Wetherspoons will not be able to benefit from a VAT reduction on beer sales and it is disappointing to see them potentially mislead customers into believing cheaper beer prices are as a direct result of the Chancellor’s measures.
“It’s likely JDW can only offer these prices if it subsidises beer from increased profit on other revenue streams. Sadly, this is a strategy many independent, wet-led pubs do not have open to them.
“We’d hope consumers do not mistakenly believe CAMRA or SIBA have endorsed this marketing approach – which we believe is unhelpful for the pub industry as a whole and masks the truth that this VAT reduction will not directly result in cheaper beer prices and does little to help a large proportion of Britain’s pubs and brewers."
JD Wetherspoon has been vocal in what it says is the tax inequality between supermarkets and pubs, where it says supermarkets pay about 2p per pint of business rates and pubs pay about 20p.
Announcing its price cuts yesterday (13 July) it said: “These tax differences have helped supermarkets to subsidise their selling prices of beer, wine and spirits, enabling them to capture about half of pubs’ beer sales, for example, in the past 40 years."