Hartlepool pub set to cut prices as part of national campaign protesting against VAT charges

Wetherspoon founder Tim MartinWetherspoon founder Tim Martin
Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin | JPIMedia Resell
A Hartlepool pub will be slashing its prices for one day as part of a campaign against what they claim is unfair taxing.

The Ward Jackson in Church Square, along with The Half Moon pub in Billingham, will cut the price of all food and drink by 7.5% on Thursday, September 19.

The move is in support of Tax Equality Day, aimed at highlighting the benefit of a VAT reduction in the hospitality industry.

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At present all food and drink in pubs is subject to 20%, compared to supermarkets which benefit from a zero VAT rate on all food. Supermarkets can use that saving to sell alcohol cheaper.

The Ward Jackson manager, Lindsay O’Connell, said: “We are proud to support the campaign to reduce the level of VAT within the hospitality industry.

“We are keen to highlight the amount customers could save if VAT in pubs was lowered permanently.”

Wetherspoon’s founder Tim Martin said: “Pubs suffer a huge disadvantage, paying about 16 pence in business rates per pint versus about two pence for supermarkets. In addition, there is a huge VAT inequality and unfairness.

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“A reduction in the level of VAT, on a long-term basis, will create a level playing field and generate growth and jobs in the important leisure and hospitality sector and help the high street, of which pubs form an integral part.”

UK Hospitality’s chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Tax Equality Day is a great way to highlight just how hospitality businesses are disproportionately hit by VAT.

“Pubs are paying around one-third of their turnover in tax, which seriously restricts their ability to invest in their venues and staff and increases prices for customers.

“A cut in the rate of VAT for the hospitality sector could help to address this unfairness”