A pub chain that operates eight venues in Tayside and Fife has pledged to pass on the full benefit of a VAT reduction to its customers.
JD Wetherspoon is to reduce prices on meals and drinks following the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s decision to reduce VAT on food, coffee and soft drinks from 20 per cent to five per cent last week.
The pub giant operates The Counting House in Dundee city centre, Jolly’s in Broughty Ferry, The Corn Exchange in Arbroath, The Fair O’Blair in Blairgowrie and The Capital Asset in Perth.
In Fife it has three venues – The Golden Acorn in Glenrothes, The Guildhall & Linen Exchange in Dunfermline and The Robert Nairn in Kirkcaldy.
The price of a number of products, including real ale, coffee, soft drinks, breakfasts, burgers and pizzas will all see price reductions, with all price cuts to be fully implemented by Monday.
As a result of the VAT reduction, Wetherspoon said it will offer a pint of Ruddles Bitter for £1.29 (down 50p, on average), a pint of Doom Bar at £1.79 (down 31p), Abbot Ale (down 40p) and guest beers at £1.99 (down 26p) at 764 of its pubs.
Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin said: “Wetherspoon will invest all the proceeds of the VAT reduction in lower prices, spread across both bar and food products, with the biggest reductions on real ale.
“Wetherspoon has campaigned for tax equality between pubs, restaurants and supermarkets for many years.
“Supermarkets pay no VAT on food sales and pubs pay 20 per cent. Supermarkets pay about two pence per pint of business rates and pubs pay about 20p.
“These tax differences have helped supermarkets to subsidise their selling prices of beer, wine and spirits, enabling them to capture about half of pubs’ beer sales in the past 40 years.
“A VAT reduction will help pubs and restaurants reverse this trend – creating more jobs, helping high streets and eventually generating more tax income for the government.”
Mr Martin said he did not expect every hospitality business to be able to reduce prices as some will need to retain the savings to stay in business.
“Others may need to invest in upgrading their premises,” he added.
“However, lower VAT and tax equality will eventually lead to lower prices, more employment, busier high streets and more taxes for the government.
“Congratulations to Chancellor Rishi Sunak for a sensible economic initiative, which is long overdue.”
The pub chain said Lavazza coffee and tea will be reduced to £1.29 (down 16p on average) at the 764 pubs.
Breakfasts will be reduced to £3.49 (down 41p on average), pizzas, including a soft drink will start from £5.49 (down 66p) and burgers and a soft drink will start from £4.99 (down 66p).
All Wetherspoon pubs including those in town and city centres, airports and stations will see prices reduced for these products.
Even with the price cuts, the prices stay above the minimum pricing for alcohol legislation in Scotland.
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