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Wetherspoons cuts food and drink prices for a day in campaign for lower taxes

Wetherspoon’s Chairman Tim Martin
Wetherspoon’s chairman Tim Martin has called for tax parity and is cutting food and drink prices at the restaurant chain for a day. Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty (Jack Taylor via Getty Images)

Wetherspoon is slashing prices across its 852 UK pubs for one day only in order to highlight the cause of tax fairness in the hospitality industry.

It's called Tax Equality Day and customers can get a 7.5% discount on all food and drinks, which means if customers spend £10, they will only pay £9.25.

In Scotland, prices will be reduced on food and non-alcoholic drinks, in line with Scottish licensing laws. Currently food and drink sold in pubs carries 20% VAT, while supermarkets receive a tax break which enables them to charge less.

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Wetherspoon claims this is unfair. It has a handy price calculator on their website to show how much you could save with a permanent reduction in VAT.

Campaign against VAT

Wetherspoon campaign wants VAT tax cut to match that given to supermarkets ((Supplied))

Wetherspoon’s founder and chairman, Tim Martin, points out the disparity where supermarkets pay zero VAT on food, while pubs and restaurants pay 20%.

“Pubs have been under fantastic pressure for decades, because of the tax disadvantages which they have with supermarkets. It doesn’t make sense for the hospitality industry to subsidise supermarkets.”

Martin is calling on the chancellor to create tax equality between pubs and supermarkets and to promote the benefit of a permanent VAT reduction in the hospitality industry.

Supporting the campaign, Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, says that a reduced rate of VAT would lead to “lower prices and more jobs” which in turn would contribute to the regeneration of high streets and city centres.

Read more: FTSE 100 and European markets lower as UK retail sales bounce back

22 Wetherspoons branches up for sale

The announcement comes after 22 Wetherspoons branches were put up for sale in the last year. According to GoodtoKnow a further nine might be put for sale in the near future.

The following Wetherspoons pubs are reported as ‘under offer’ and at risk of closing:

  • Coronet, London (Holloway)

  • The Alfred Herring, London (Palmers Green)

  • The Cross Keys, Peebles

  • The Widow Frost, Mansfield

  • The Saltoun Inn, Fraserburgh

  • General Sir Redvers Buller, Crediton

  • The Butlers Bell, Stafford

  • The Percy Shaw, Halifax

  • Foxley Hatch, Purley

  • Asparagus, London (Battersea)

  • Millers Well, East Ham

  • Hudson Bay, London (Forest Gate)

  • Capitol, London (Forest Hill)

  • The Bankers Draft, Eltham

Wetherspoon has already closed 28 of its 827 establishments in the UK.

Watch: A Wetherspoons beer lover enjoys the 'longest pub crawl in history'

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