If you’re pondering that question, it’s because of Tax Equality Day. The idea is to promote reducing the VAT rate on the hospitality industry. Currently, the rate in force is 20%, but many of those working in the industry would like to see this reduced to 5%. Wetherspoons is one of the biggest names taking part in the drive to raise awareness of the benefits of a possible drop in VAT, but many other businesses in the industry will also be taking part.
Tim Martin, the boss of Wetherspoons, noted that pubs suffered a big disadvantage over other businesses such as supermarkets when it comes to things like business rates. He also pointed out the inequality in VAT rates, and suggested that a reduction in VAT from 20% to 5% would “create a level playing field”. This, it is hoped, would boost business and jobs, and both those things would be positive for the communities these pubs and eateries operate in.
News reports indicate two other pubs in Wyre Forest will be taking part, too – The Penny Black in Kidderminster, and the George Hotel in Bewdley. In common with Wetherspoons, they will be reducing prices by 7.5% on 20th September only, to show customers how much more affordable a drink would be – and a meal – if they could enjoy lower VAT rates throughout the year. This might currently be a pipe dream, but a meal that would typically cost you £10 will cost just £9.25 on 20th September, for Tax Equality Day. Meanwhile, the Tollemache Inn in Grantham has also made the headlines for taking part. No doubt you will find news of local pubs in your area that will be taking part in the event, too.
One newspaper reported around 15,000 pubs and restaurants would be playing their part in the event, but whether it will have any effect on the VAT rate long-term remains to be seen. The campaign will certainly raise awareness, though, and that is needed if the government is to consider any possible change to the rate of VAT applied to businesses in the hospitality industry.
It does make sense that people would want to reduce the amount they pay when eating or drinking out. If there was less VAT to pay on the orders, maybe more of us would head out for a drink or a meal. Would you? Maybe that is something to think about as 20th September rolls around, and the various pubs and restaurants taking part in this event try to raise awareness of the campaign.
Will you support it? Will you eat out on 20th September to take advantage of a cheaper meal and drink thanks to the temporary reduction in VAT? Do you think this is a good idea?