Mansfield and Ashfield Wetherspoon pubs to slash prices on VAT protest day
Four pubs in Mansfield, Kirkby and Sutton are set to slash the price of all food and drink for a day to highlight the cost of VAT in the hospitality industry.
Prices at The Widow Frost, on Leeming Street and The Stag & Pheasant on Clumber Street, both in Mansfield town centre, as well as The Picture House, Fox Street, Sutton, and The Regent, Diamond Avenue, Kirkby, will be reduced to mark Tax Equality Day across JD Wetherspoon venues.
Prices will be cut by 7.5 per cent on Thursday, September 23, to highlight the benefit of a permanent VAT reduction
So, for example, a pint of beer costing £1.99 will be reduced to £1.84 and a traditional breakfast costing £3.59 will cost £3.32 on the day.
At present, all food and drink in pubs is subject to VAT of 5 per cent, as a result of the VAT cut by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak in July 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic.
However, this will change on October 1, when the rate will rise to 12.5 per cent, with the government's aim of returning it to 20 per cent, in stages, in 2022.
John Previll, The Stag & Pheasant manager, said: “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, due to the tax disadvantages it has with supermarkets.
“Customers coming on September 23 will find the price of food and drink is lower than normal.
"However, as a result of the VAT increase on October 1, we will have to increase food prices.
“Therefore, on September 29, we will increase prices on our meals by 50p.
“We urge the Chancellor to create tax equality between pubs and supermarkets by making the current VAT regime for pubs permanent."
“The VAT rise will make the entire hospitality industry less competitive vis a vis powerful supermarkets,” JD Wetherspoon said.
The company expects to make a loss for the year to July 25 – only the second annual loss in its history, after it fell £105 million into the red in the previous year.
However, it plans to open 18 new pubs and upgrade 57 others, and will invest about £750m in similar projects in the next 10 years.