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VAT campaigners plan day of action

20 June 2013 by
VAT campaigners plan day of action

Campaigners who want to reduce the rate of VAT for the hospitality sector are launching a national day of action with the aim of getting thousands of pubs and restaurants across the country to lower their prices for one day only.

The VAT Club, run by veteran French lobbyist Jacques Borel (pictured) is to hold its Tax Parity Day on Wednesday 25 September.

The group, which wants a reduction in VAT from 20% to 5% will ask publicans, restaurateurs and foodservice operators to reduce their prices by 7.5% for one day only, in order to highlight the benefits of a VAT reduction.

It is backing the campaign with 250,000 posters which will be distributed to venues.

It is being backed by members of The VAT Club JB including JD Wetherspoon, Brains, Heineken, Shepherd Neame and Punch Taverns, family brewers including Fullers, Charles Wells and St Austell, restaurant group Pizza Hut, hotel operator Mandarin Oriental, sandwich chain Subway and motorway services operator Roadchef.

Borel said: "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.

"We are calling on supporters of the campaign to reduce their prices by 7.5% for one day.

"This is the amount by which we believe that prices would fall if VAT were cut to 5%, on the assumption that 60% 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."

Borel claimed that a 7.5% reduction on the day would lead to increased turnover of between 10-12% for operators taking part, as they will attract more customers to their outlets.

In France, a similar campaign saw sales increase by 8% on the day of action.

JD 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 UK chief executive Jens Hofma, said: "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.

"Most importantly, tax parity will also fuel the creation of jobs, which are broadly accessible and offer huge opportunity for personal and career development in a truly meritocratic sector."

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