This week, our Slash VAT, Boost Business campaign moves up through the gears. The campaign, which aims to press Government to ease the burden of taxation on the UK hospitality industry, launched as a result of the rise in VAT by 2.5% to 20%, back in January.
At 20%, our VAT rate is the second-most uncompetitive in the EU after Denmark and its detrimental impact on hospitality is plain to see.
We believe that the cost to the Exchequer of aggressively slashing the rate for our industry would be more than offset by the additional tax revenues it would generate and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it would create.
There's clear evidence to support our position. When France revised down the level of VAT for restaurants, cafés and hotels from 19.6% to 5.5% in July 2009, the net result was a £400m windfall for the state. There are early signs that a reduction in VAT in Ireland from 13.5% to 9% this summer could have similar benefits.
To ratchet up the pressure on Government, we've launched an online petition calling for a flat 5% VAT rate across hospitality. Already, you are signing up in your droves. Now, we're calling on you to lend further support for our campaign by galvanising your teams to put their combined weight behind it.
On page 27, you'll find a clear call to arms for Slash VAT, Boost Business. All you need do is cut it out, photocopy it and pin copies in offices, staff restaurants and kitchens across your business.
By doing so, you'll be playing your part in safeguarding the future health of your team, your business and your industry.
To sign our petition now, go to www.catererandhotelkeeper.com/slashvat
Mark Lewis, Editor, Caterer and Hotelkeepermark.firstname.lastname@example.org