Tim Martin: pubs 'destined for further decline' without tax relief

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Martin: 'My payable rates will rise by millions'
Martin: 'My payable rates will rise by millions'

Related tags: Business rates, Retailing, Tim martin

JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has hit out at the Government’s upcoming business rates rises and tax inequality, which will see his pubco hit with a bill of millions.

Martin told the Morning Advertiser​ the issue of business rates “was inextricably linked” with supermarket tax equality and that, without progress on both fronts, the sector was destined for “further decline”.

“That’s the overriding point," he said. "Before the rates rise, pubs paid about 16p per pint in rates – if a pint is £3.50, take off the VAT and it’s about 5% or 6% of Ex-VAT on the cost of a pint.

'It's another 2p a pint'

“Ours have gone up by about 16%, so it’s another 2p a pint. I haven’t got a figure but the increase is about £7m or £8m.

“The main point is supermarkets only pay about 2p per pint in business rates and, on top of that, they pay no VAT on food.”

Rates changes were just the latest factor that would unfairly increase the disparity between supermarkets and pubs, he added.

Transitional relief

Last week, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) hit out at the Government’s move to grant online retailer Amazon a cut in business rates​, while calls for transitional relief for pubs were seemingly unheard.

When asked if he thought Theresa May’s Government was good for pubs, Martin said: “They’re much better for pubs than Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell because they haven’t put up alcohol duty.

“I don’t think Cameron did too much to reverse it – I think the Theresa May regime is more receptive to argument.”

Related topics: Legislation

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