Following revelations - published in yesterday's PMA - that the VAT Club had been fined for late payment of VAT, and run up £350,000 of expenses in the past nine months, Borel wrote in a letter to PMA editor Rob Willock that he did not dispute the allegations and that he acknowledged the criticism.
But he added: “I remain confident that the campaign is making great strides and that ultimately it will be successful.”
He emphasised the success of the recent Tax Parity Day – in which thousands of pubs and restaurants reduced their prices to simulate the effects of a 5% rate of VAT – and insisted that recruiting new VAT Club members remained a priority.
Borel signed off his letter by saying: “I would add just one more thing – this is a campaign that the pub industry can’t afford to lose.”
Jacques Borel’s letter in full:
The news story and leader article in the Publican’s Morning Advertiser (10 October 2013) relating to VAT Club JB does not make for comfortable reading.
The PMA has always supported the campaign to reduce VAT and I have to acknowledge the criticism when it is levelled at me.
The statements contained in the article are all correct and I do not dispute those.
I appreciate that The PMA has every right to make its concerns known to its readers.
I have always made it abundantly clear to the members as well as those in the industry that this is a long campaign, that will have many twists and turns.
Mistakes have been made, however, I remain confident that the campaign is making great strides and that ultimately it will be successful.
I have no doubt that the campaign has progressed more effectively in the past four-and-a-half years than it did previously.
The success of Tax Parity Day highlights both industry and public support for a VAT cut.
More than 10,000 pubs and restaurants across the UK participated in the day, resulting in extensive media coverage which has put the campaign very much in the spotlight.
All those who participated saw a rise in sales on the day as well as a very positive reaction from customers.
At present we have 43 members, including some of the most respected operators in the UK, and we know that we must encourage more to join.
Your readers should know that I continue to put every effort into recruiting new members.
In the same vein the campaign to reach out to MPs will continue.
It is important to note that some of the recommendations, for example a London office, are just that, recommendations. They have not been approved and are under discussion.
I would add just one more thing – this is a campaign that the pub industry can’t afford to lose.
So despite some errors on my part, I believe that the campaign to cut VAT is stronger than ever.