Pubs and restaurants in Norwich ignore VAT protest price cuts

The Adam and Eve pub. Photo: Denise Bradley

The Adam and Eve pub. Photo: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant © 2006

Pubs and restaurants in Norwich have snubbed a national campaign to reduce VAT by cutting their prices for the day - with many claiming the cost would be too much of a strain.

Campaigner Jacques Borel urged the industry to make the 7.5pc cut yesterday as part of Tax Equality Day.

More than 15,000 pubs around the country took part - but landlords and restaurateurs in Norwich weren't inspired by the cause.

Rita McCluskey, landlady at the Adam and Eve pub in Bishopgate, said: 'I don't know anyone in Norwich who has been assisting with it. The problem is a lot of the bigger places away have support to do it. I imagine many here are already down with the weather and this would just be another knock - I don't know of anyone who is involved.'

Independent watering holes and eateries including the Sir Garnet, The Jubilee and Bishops Dining Room and Wine Bar also opted to give the campaign a miss, with The Murderers, on Timberhill, saying the decision was cost-based.

The Glass House, part of the JD Wetherspoons chain, did knock down its prices for the day.

Duty manager Adam Watling said: 'Our chairman is very involved in this, so we are joining in. Considering the weather we have been fairly busy today - I think it may have dragged a few people out who may otherwise have not bothered.

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'It's a hard fight to fight to be honest - they don't want to give ease up but everyone I speak to seems to be behind the idea of it.'

Wetherspoons reduced the price a pint of John Smith's from an average £2.29 to £1.83 and a plate of fish and chips from £6.99 to £5.59.

Mr Borel has achieved VAT cuts in a number of European countries, including France, Germany, Belgium and Finland.

He said: 'I am confident that Tax Equality Day will be a great success and that the price reductions will be welcomed by customers.

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

'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.'

A Treasury spokesperson said that they are committed to supporting the industry, citing a decision to cut the tax on a pint of beer by one penny at the Budget 2013 and a further one penny at Budget 2014.

'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 £1 billion of business rates support has been provided.'

How much VAT do you think pubs and restaurants should be paying? Let us know by emailing reporter Lauren Cope on