These Wetherspoon pubs in Sheffield are slashing prices for one day only before costs increase

Wetherspoon pubs in Sheffield are slashing their prices for one day only, before increasing the cost of meals, amid a row over VAT.

By Robert Cumber
Saturday, 11th September 2021, 4:40 pm

Nine Wetherspoon branches in the city will cut the cost of food and drink by 7.5 per cent on Thursday, September 23 to mark so-called ‘Tax Equality Day’.

That’s the amount by which VAT is set to increase from October 1, when a temporary cut introduced to help businesses hit by the Covid pandemic begins to be gradually phased out.

Wetherspoon is calling for a permanent VAT reduction for the hospitality industry to help pubs and restaurants better compete with supermarkets.

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Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin outside The Bankers Draft in Sheffield city centre, which is among the pubs slashing prices for one day only before the cost of meals rises permanently due to an increase in VAT

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All food and drink sold in pubs is currently subject to five per cent VAT but that will rise to 12.5 per cent from October 1, and the Government plans further increases to restore the rate to 20 per cent in 2022.

Supermarkets pay zero VAT on food, which Wetherspoon says puts them at an unfair advantage.

The pub chain’s one-day promotion means a pint of beer usually costing £1.99 will be reduced to £1.84, while a traditional breakfast typically priced £3.59 will set customers back £3.32.

But Wetherspoon says the impending VAT rise means it is having to increase the price of meals by 50p from Wednesday, September 29.

Jonathan Atkinson, manager of The Bankers Draft pub in Sheffield city centre, 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 they have with supermarkets.”

The Wetherspoon pubs in Sheffield which are taking part in the September 23 price cut are: The Bankers Draft on Market Place, Sheffield city centre; The Woodseats Palace on Chesterfield Road, Woodseats; The Benjamin Huntsman on Cambridge Street, Sheffield city centre; The Rawson Spring on Langsett Road, Hillsborough; The Sheffield Waterworks Company on Division Street, Sheffield city centre; The Sheaf Island on Ecclesall Road; The Francis Newton on Clarkehouse Road, Broomfield;The Wagon & Horses on Market Place, Chapeltown; and The Steel Foundry at The Oasis, Meadowhall.