Minety publican signs up to campaign for level playing field with supermarkets (From This Is Wiltshire)
Minety publican signs up to campaign for level playing field with supermarkets
12:00pm Friday 27th September 2013 in Latest News
landlord Jamie Denman slashed his prices this week as part of a national campaign against taxes he says are crippling his business.
Mr Denman, landlord of the Vale of the White Horse, Minety, took part in the national Tax Parity Day yesterday alongside thousands of others, including big names such as Devizes-based Wadworth brewery and JB Wetherspoons, to raise awareness of their battle against what they say are punitive taxes.
Pubs and restaurants all over the country dropped their prices to reflect what products would cost if the 20 per cent VAT rate were reduced. The campaign comes as supermarket chains benefit from a zero VAT rate on food items.
“There’s no real justification for high VAT because it is putting businesses and restaurants out of business at a rapid rate,” said Mr Denman.
“We are massively over-taxed and that burden has increased so much over the years.
“We are trying to draw attention to our situation to get more support for us because the understanding is that the public don’t know about it.”
As part of the campaign, all the participating businesses, including the Vale of the White Horse, offered a 7.5per cent discount to customers, which equals the savings they might receive if the government was to reduce the tax on businesses to five per cent once other costs were taken into account.
Campaigners say while food-serving establishments in European countries such as France enjoy a reduced tax rate, the British Government continues to charge punitive rates, causing businesses to struggle in the difficult economic times.
“Our business rates are £17,000 a year, and then we have to add heating and other bills, and we’ve spent about £100,000 before we have even pulled our first pint,” said Mr Denman, 59, who has been landlord for 11 years.
“We are struggling to survive at the moment – that’s no secret, just as many are.
“Times have got much, much harder. The 20 per cent tax drives people to eat at home rather than eat out.
“A lot of countries have reduced their level of VAT to keep their pubs and businesses alive, but sadly our government is not currently listening. Hopefully the penny will drop because pubs and restaurants produce a huge amount of revenue for the Government, but they are killing the goose that lays the golden egg.”
The Tax Parity Day, headed by veteran VAT campaigner and entrepreneur Jacques Borel, was also supported by Heineken, Pizza Hut and Subway. Paul Sullivan, Wadworth’s marketing director, welcomed yesterday’s campaign day.
He said: “I think one knows the pressure the pubs are under in terms of the economic environment and if the government could be persuaded to reduce the tax on pubs it would allow more job creation.
“It would also create more of a ‘going out’ atmosphere that the industry desperately needs. It’s not a level playing field with the supermarkets.”
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