POLITICS

Here's A Very Good Reason Why You Should Go For A Drink Today

24/09/2014 12:37 BST | Updated 24/09/2014 12:59 BST
Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Archive
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne holds a pint of beer during a visit to officially re-open The Red Lion pub, following a major refurbishment in Whitehall, central London.

Thousands of pubs, bars and restaurants will slash the price of food and drink by 7.5% today as part of a campaign to show the benefits of cutting VAT.

The "Tax Equality Day" campaign will see 15,000 establishments slash prices in a bid to highlight the crippling impact of VAT, with up to 40 chains backing the protest, including JD Wetherspoons, Punch Taverns and Fullers.

Chancellor George Osborne raised VAT from 17.5% to 20% back in 2011, arguing that it was a "progressive" move.

Jacques Borel. the mastermind behind the tax protest, has previously secured VAT cuts in European countries like France, Germany and Belgium.

"Our message is clear - a reduction in the level of VAT on a long-term basis will generate growth and create jobs in the important leisure and hospitality sector," he said.

"At present all food and drink in pubs is subject to 20% VAT, compared to supermarkets which benefit from a zero VAT rate."

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) threw its weight behind the initiative. Head of communications Tim Steiner said: “British beer drinkers pay one of the highest rates of duty in the EU and it’s fantastic to see an initiative shine a light of this.

“Hopefully pubs will see a much-needed boost in trade and Camra would urge people to take the opportunity to try a real ale from one of the local breweries at a slightly cheaper price.”

A Treasury spokesperson said: "We are committed to supporting the leisure and hospitality industry and have cut the tax on a typical pint of beer by one penny at Budget 2013 and by a further one penny at Budget 2014, making a pint of beer 8p cheaper than under inherited duty plans.

"We are also providing additional support to businesses in a number of ways.

"For example, from April 2014 businesses and charities have been able to benefit from up to £2,000 off their employer national insurance contributions bill and over £1bn of business rates support has been provided."

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