Wetherspoons dropping food and drink prices for a day to highlight tax burden on hospitality industry

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Wetherspoons pubs are cutting the prices of all food and drinks for one day this week in a bid to highlight the tax burden on the hospitality industry.

The chain will reduce prices by 7.5% in pubs across the UK and Ireland on Thursday September 14.

It means that, for example, a customer spending £10 on food and drinks will pay £9.25 for one day only.

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The move is being done to mark Tax Equality Day, by highlighting the benefit that a permanent VAT reduction would have on pubs and restaurants across the UK.

Friends drinkingFriends drinking
Friends drinking

Prices in Scotland will be reduced on food and non-alcoholic drinks, in line with Scottish licensing laws.

Wetherspoons said it wants to expose the “vast disparity” in how pubs and restaurants are taxed, compared with supermarkets.

The group’s founder and chairman, Tim Martin, said: “The biggest threat to the hospitality industry is the vast disparity in tax treatment among pubs, restaurants and supermarkets.

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“Supermarkets pay zero VAT in respect of food sales, whereas pubs and restaurants pay 20%.

“This tax benefit allows supermarkets to subsidise the selling price of beer.

Pubs have been under fantastic pressure for decades because of the tax disadvantages which they have with supermarkets.”

It means that the hospitality industry is subsiding supermarkets because of the tax rules, Mr Martin argued.

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“We urge the Chancellor to create tax equality between pubs and supermarkets”, he added.

Mr Martin has previously been vocal about the issue, arguing that the lower price of beer in supermarkets has deterred some consumers from getting a pint at their local pub.

He has also accused some senior politicians of a “lack of understanding” over inflation and how higher costs are piling pressure on the sector.

As of July, Wetherspoon runs 827 pubs in the UK and Ireland.

It is set to report record total sales across its pubs for the latest financial year thanks to a bumper Easter and May bank holiday trading.