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Wisbech brewery with pubs across West Norfolk and the Fens backs bid to cut VAT on pub grub

15:57 09 September 2014

Pubs are calling on the Treasury to cut VAT on meals.

Pubs are calling on the Treasury to cut VAT on meals.

A brewery with 35 tenanted pubs across West Norfolk and the Fens is backing the campaign to cut the VAT on eating out.

Elgood’s, founded on the North Brink in Wisbech in 1795, is a member of the Independent Family Brewers of Britain.

Along with 28 other IFBB members, the brewery believes the reduction would help both pubs and pub-goers, by making going out more affordable.

While people pay 20pc VAT on food consumed in pubs, there is zero tax on food bought from supermarkets.

The IFBB reckons cutting VAT to 5pc would create more than 600,000 jobs in the hospitality sector and help preserve the UK’s “rich and unique pub heritage”.

Pubs acrosss the country which support the campaign will be cutting the cost of meals on Wednesday, September 24.

They aim to show how much cheaper eating out would be if the treasury served up a tax cut, which outlets could pass on to the consumer.

Kate Pateman, directors’ secretary at Elgood’s, said: “We do support the tax equality day. What they’re looking for is parity with supermarket food to encourage people to go out to eat more often.

“Anything we can do to bring down the cost of eating out down we hope will help the pub industry.”
While Elgood’s tenantss all sell food, it is not yet clear how many will be joining price cutting pubs up and down the country on the day.

Mrs Pateman said while modern-day pubs could not survive on drink sales alone, UK outlets were also subject to a different tax regime than their EU counterparts, meaning British drinkers paid higher duty on their beer.

Parity Day’s supporters include Pizza Hut and JD Wetherspoon. Some 15pc of Britain’s pubs - around 10,000 hostelries - have closed over the last decade.

Supermarkets now sell as much beer as the remainder and can subsidise cheaper prices from the money they save by not being subject to VAT on food.

Writing in a campaign newsletter, Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “Taxes should be fair and equal - and it does not make economic sense for the government to favour supermarkets, since pubs generate far more taxes and jobs per pint or meal than supermarkets do as, indeed, most economists agree.”

What do you think - should VAT be cut on food in pubs? E-mail chris.bishop@archant.co.uk.

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