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Brighton and Hove pubs join VAT price slash protest
Pubs are set to lower their prices for a day in a protest against high levels of tax.
Scores of bars and restaurants across Sussex will be slashing the cost of food and drink for one day next week in protest at the current levels of VAT.
Landlords said they felt they were being “milked” by the Government with crippling levels of high-tax which was leaving them at a huge disadvantage against supermarkets.
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The campaign is being organised by the VAT Club Jacques Borel in protest to the 20% VAT currently paid by bars and restaurants while supermarkets pay none.
Campaigners argue the entertainment industry should be charged 5% on VAT claiming that doing so would drive down the costs to customers from 7.5% and create 670,000 new jobs nationwide.
Big-name firms Punch, Wetherspoon, Pizza Hut and Fuller’s are all expected to take part next Wednesday.
Peter ‘Blue’ Dowd, who has run The Basketmakers in Gloucester Road, Brighton, for the last 30 years, said: “Food is where it is a really big issue because we pay 20% VAT whereas you can walk into a supermarket and buy a chicken or a pizza and you won’t pay that.
Huge impact “If you spend £10 in my pub, £2 goes straight away to the Government in VAT and then I have to pay all my other taxes on top of that.
“At 15% it would be a bit bearable, or if they took it back to 12.5%, but I read somewhere it could cost the Government £5 billion and they won’t like that.
“My sales are fairly decent but the impact is on what I make out of the business, I take a lot less from more turnover and the Government takes more.”
Also taking part on the day will be The Hangleton Manor in Hangleton Valley Drive, Hove, which is owned by brewers Hall and Woodhouse.
Managing director Anthony Woodhouse said: “Currently UK hospitality businesses are charged 20% VAT on food sales, whereas supermarkets pay no VAT on ready meals.
“This seems a disparity that disadvantages an industry which can generate jobs and careers as well as supporting local producers.
“Hall and Woodhouse are delighted to be supporting this campaign, which if successful has the potential not only to create tens of thousands of jobs across the UK, but would also encourage sustainable growth in the UK economy.”
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