The Caterer

The Coalition Government one year on – what the pub companies think

19 May 2011
The Coalition Government one year on – what the pub companies think

Among the first acts of David Cameron's premiership was a speech on the great value of the tourism industry to the UK economy. So is he helping or hindering? This is what the pub companies think

Tim Martin
Tim Martin
Don't kill the golden goose

Tim MartinChairman, JD Wetherspoon

There is no doubt that the Government is in a difficult position, having received a hospital pass from the Labour administration. However, the Government needs a more enlightened understanding of the implications of taxes and regulations on the pub and catering industry.

These businesses have the potential to be massive generators of jobs and taxes, provided the golden goose is not killed first. The previous Government imposed draconian penalties and taxes on pubs and restaurants, resulting in both record pub and, to an extent, restaurant closures and greatly reduced the capacity of the industry to create new jobs. It consequently drove potential customers into the hands of the supermarkets, which pay far less tax per pint and pay no VAT, for example, on food.

The Government needs jobs, and lowering VAT and excise duty to French levels would probably create a million jobs in five years.

Mark McQuater
Mark McQuater
Duty increases widen the problem with supermarkets

Mark McQuaterChief executive, Barracuda

I have to say we are pretty disappointed that the duty increase went through - with inflation, that's a 7.5% increase on beer on top of a VAT increase three months earlier.

It is astonishingly brutal, really, and it widens the problem with supermarkets. We run supervised environments that are good places for younger people to drink at, and that costs money. It is a very different proposition from a take-away drink.

Also, if you are encouraging the economy, pubs are a big employment market in the UK. If you buy a tin of drink from the supermarket and take it home, it doesn't do much for the economy.

So the answer is that the Government hasn't done much really. That's why we are driving food and coffee - there's no excise duty on coffee at the moment.

How do you think the Coalition Government is performing for hospitality? Tell us atTable Talk.

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