Close Menu

Wetherspoon is slashing its prices for one day to show benefits of a VAT cut

Pub giant JD Wetherspoon is slashing prices on both food and drink for one day this week to highlight the benefit of a permanent VAT decrease for the hospitality sector.

Wetherspoon prices: the exterior of a Wetherspoon pub

Prices at 851 Wetherspoon pubs (excluding the Republic of Ireland) will cut by 7.5% to mark Tax Equality Day on Thursday 15 September and demonstrate to consumers the benefits of a permanent VAT decrease on their own wallets.

JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin drew a direct comparison between supermarkets paying no VAT on food while pubs pay 20%.

Wetherspoon estimated that a customer typically spending £10 on food and drink would pay just £9.25 on Thursday due to the initiative.

“Taxes should be fair and equitable. It doesn’t make sense for the hospitality industry to subsidise supermarkets”, said Tim Martin.

“However, it is unfair that supermarkets pay zero VAT on food, but pubs and restaurants pay 20%.

“Pubs have been under fantastic pressure for decades due to the tax disadvantages that they have  with supermarkets. Customers in our pubs will find the price of their food and drink will be lower than normal on Tax Equality Day.

“We applauded the Chancellor when he reduced the level of VAT to five per cent and then to 12.5 per cent (for food and drink served in pubs) and urge the Chancellor once again to reduce VAT, thereby creating tax equality between pubs and supermarkets.

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

“Government does best when it does not discriminate among various types of business selling the same products.”

Martin’s words come in the midst of a bleak period for pubs and hospitality venues, amid soaring energy costs and consumer spending caution.

The new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, announced measures intended to combat sky-high energy prices on her first day in the top job, but will they be enough to save hospitality venues?

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No