JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has warned that excessive taxation means licensees are paying £5 to the Government for every £1 they make.
Speaking at the British Institute of Innkeeping's (BII) biggest ever regional event last week, Mr Martin warned that the pub trade was under increasing pressure from the Government, with high taxes eating into profits.
He said: "Our profit for this year is estimated to be about £50m and I worked out that, with VAT and rates and beer duty, the Government is taking about £250m."
He warned that the trade was still being viewed as a "cash-cow" which could be used to raise money through taxes for other sectors of the economy. The two main problems for licensees, he warned, were rates and beer duty.
Mr Martin is now urging all licensees to write to their MPs and complain about the high taxes they are paying. "Certainly at the moment the trade is a massive employer and a massive industry but we have not been very successful or effective at campaigning against high duty rates," he said.
"I am going to try and do my bit and every licensee should tell their staff and customers and join the campaign."
The BII's public relations manager Georgina Wald said: "I think Mr Martin is certainly right that the cost to licensees from beer duty must come down. This single move would benefit licensees both through lower taxes and increased business through fewer people buying off the black market and drinking at home."
Around 250 BII members turned out to hear Mr Martin speak at the event, held at Cheltenham Racecourse.
Five regions, Wessex, Wales, Thames Valley, West Midlands and Central, combined to host the event which also included a speech by Adam Westbrook from the Bank of Scotland.