United Kingdom

Wetherspoons is slashing price of all food and drink by 7.5% on Thursday

Wetherspoons is to slash the prices of all food and drinks in its pubs across the UK for one day only in the face of hospitality VAT rates going up next month. 

The company is to cut the price of food and drinks across its 870 pubs by 7.5 per cent on September 23 as part of a campaign to highlight the benefit of a permanent VAT reduction in the hospitality industry. 

At present, all pub food and drinks are subject to five per cent VAT as a result of the temporary VAT cut by the chancellor in July 2020.

But this is set to stop on October 1, when the VAT rate will rise to 12.5 per cent, with the aim of returning to 20 per cent, in stages, by 2022. 

Wetherspoons is to slash the prices of food and drinks across its 870 pubs by 7.5 per cent on September 23 

It comes as a new survey by pub trade journal The Morning Advertiser yesterday showed that almost two out of three pub operators - 63 per cent - said they are looking to raise their prices once the temporary VAT reduction on food, soft drinks and accommodation ends.   

Wetherspoon's chairman, Tim Martin, said: 'Taxes should be fair and equitable.

'However, it is unfair that supermarkets pay zero VAT on food, but pubs and restaurants, in normal circumstances, pay 20 per cent.

'Pubs have been under fantastic pressure for decades, owing to the tax disadvantages which they have with supermarkets.

'Customers in our pubs on Tax Equality Day will find that the price of their food and drinks will be lower than normal.

'However, as a result of the VAT increase to 12.5 per cent, we will have to increase food prices by around 50p per meal. 

'We urge the chancellor to create tax equality between pubs and supermarkets by making permanent the current VAT régime for pubs. 

Wetherspoon's chairman, Tim Martin, said customers will find that the price of their food and drinks will be lower than normal on Tax Equality Day

'He should note that the main impact of tax inequality is on high streets and town and city centres, which depend heavily on a diversity of prosperous hospitality businesses for economic, social and employment success.'

Earlier this month, Wetherspoons apologised to its loyal customers across the country after its beer supplies became the latest casualty of Britain's supply chain crunch.

The British hospitality giant confirmed that it has seen supplies of Carling and Coors beer hit by the disruption, with some pubs not receiving deliveries amid a shortage of HGV drivers.

Lorry driver and factory staff shortages attributed to the Covid pandemic and Brexit employment rules have also impacted supplies at rival firms including McDonald's, Nando's and KFC in recent weeks.

In a statement, Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: 'We are experiencing some supply problems with both Carling and Coors, which means that some pubs do not have the products available.

'We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused. We know that the brewers are trying to resolve the issue.' 

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