Trade bodies join forces on VAT campaign

By Emily Sutherland contact

- Last updated on GMT

The campaign will be headed by former lobbyist and leisure expert Chris Guyver
The campaign will be headed by former lobbyist and leisure expert Chris Guyver

Related tags: Tax, Vat club

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) have joined forces to fight for a reduction in the level of VAT pubs pay and to highlight the tax burden facing licensees.

Former political consultant and leisure industry expert Chris Guyver will head the campaign. Guyver said: “The overall tax burden on the pub remains too high and there is a big differential between pubs and supermarkets.

“Pubs pay a third of their turnover in taxes and regulatory costs and supermarkets around a fifth. This disparity inhibits job creation and investment and also gives supermarkets an unfair advantage over pubs.

“The VAT regime is also unfair as supermarkets pay zero VAT on most food, compared with pubs which pay 20% and use this financial advantage to sell alcohol at low prices. Unlike other countries in Europe, the British government hasn’t taken action to reduce VAT in the sector, despite the positive contribution it would make to job creation. We believe it should address this important issue.”

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls added that Guyver’s experience advising large companies would be ‘invaluable’ in getting the industry’s message across to leading politicians.

Pub giant JD Wetherspoon pulled out of the VAT Club, lead by Jacques Borel, at the end of last year despite being the campaign's most dedicated supporter. Boss Tim Martin said Borel had “led the way” but felt he could no longer support the club in its current format and that an alliance of companies was needed to tackle the issue.

The move came after leading pub sector entrepreneur Peter Borg-Neal urged the trade to come together and find a new way of tackling the VAT burden​, arguing previous industry attempts had not worked. 

The Oakman Inns founder told the PMA ​all the various trade bodies needed to get behind a single policy to effectively lobby the Government.

Related topics: Legislation

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