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25 September 2018 / Richard Asquith
Issue: 4665 / Categories: Forum & Feedback

Wetherspoon’s ‘tax equality day’ will fall on deaf ears until Brexit.

On 13 September pub chain JD Wetherspoon continued its campaign for VAT cuts for the hospitality sector with a one-day 7.5% cut on beer and food prices. The company’s annual ‘tax equality day’ seeks to highlight the lower VAT rates enjoyed by supermarkets selling similar goods – a tax subsidy the pub sector has linked to a 25% shrinkage in its industry over the past 20 years. The campaign also pointed to hospitality and tourism sectors across most of the rest of the EU that benefit from reduced VAT breaks. However a pinched Treasury searching for more taxes to meet expanding NHS demands is unlikely to be listening.

Yet Brexit may upend the fiscal landscape. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) as part of its confidence-and-supply arrangement with the Conservative government has secured a hospitality and tourism reduced VAT rate review. This could be enacted...

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