Wetherspoons is slashing the price of its food and drink by 7.5 per cent this month for one day only.
The pub chain has said the discount will be available at 870 of its pubs in protest against hospitality tax rates.
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Calls for a permanently reduced tax bill
Wetherspoons said customers will be able to enjoy discounted food and drink to mark Tax Equality Day on 23 September, in a move intended to highlight the benefits of a permanently reduced tax bill for the pub industry.
Pubs and restaurants normally pay 20 per cent VAT, but are currently only paying five per cent.
The reduced rate was introduced as part of measures to help the hard-hit industry survive the Covid-19 pandemic.
This rate is due to increase to 12.5 per cent at the end of September, before returning in stages to its usual rate of 20 per cent by 2022.
Wetherspoons’ chairman Tim Martin is now arguing for the tax rate to be kept at five per cent in an effort to help pubs compete against big supermarket chains.
He claims the higher rate for pubs puts supermarkets at an unfair advantage as they pay zero VAT on food, allowing stores to use that saving to sell alcohol to customers at a discounted price.
Mr Martin said: “Taxes should be fair and equitable. However, it is unfair that supermarkets pay zero VAT on food, but pubs and restaurants, in normal circumstances, pay 20 per cent.
“Pubs have been under fantastic pressure for decades, owing to the tax disadvantages which they have with supermarkets.
“Customers in our pubs on Tax Equality Day will find that the price of their food and drinks will be lower than normal.
“However, as a result of the VAT increase to 12.5 per cent, we will have to increase food prices by around 50p per meal.
“We urge the chancellor to create tax equality between pubs and supermarkets by making permanent the current VAT régime for pubs.
“He should note that the main impact of tax inequality is on high streets and town and city centres, which depend heavily on a diversity of prosperous hospitality businesses for economic, social and employment success.”
When can I get the discount?
The discount will be available in 870 Wetherspoons pubs on Thursday 23 September only.
It will not apply to alcohol in Scotland due to licensing regulations, and also excludes airports and the Republic of Ireland.
With the discount applied, a large breakfast would be 46p cheaper, costing £5.64 instead of £6.10, while the price of a pint would drop from around £3.50 to £3.24.
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