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Posted: 24 January 2012
Blog category: News
Brewer Shepherd Neame is pressuring politicians to cut the cost of eating out by joining a campaign to reduce the level of VAT on drink, food and accommodation in pubs.
Shepherd Neame has more than 350 pubs in London and the South East, including 237 in Kent, 38 in East and West Sussex, 22 in Surrey and 16 in Essex.
Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame said: “A reduction in VAT will stimulate jobs and investment in local and rural communities. This approach has already created jobs in Germany, Belgium, Sweden and France and we think it will work here.”
The campaign, orchestrated by French leisure entrepreneur and lobbyist Jacques Borel, has been boosted by £240,000 of funding from the Independent Family Brewers of Britain, which represents private, family-run regional brewers such as Shepherd Neame.
They believe that cutting VAT to 5% in the UK hospitality sector would create up to 320,000 jobs, many of them in the 16 to 24-year-old age group, which recently hit a 17-year high unemployment rate of one million.
Mr Neame said: “Each pub contributes an average of £80,000* to its local economy each year but licensees are struggling because they are hampered by excessive tax increases and legislation. Reducing VAT in pubs will provide more jobs for young people and safeguard an important community hub.
“This is a simple measure that could make a big difference to the UK’s hospitality and tourism sector, an area of the economy in which jobs can be created relatively quickly and at relatively low cost.”
Shepherd Neame is family-owned brewer founded in 1698 and based in Faversham, Kent. The company brewed 68 million pints of beer in 2011, and 4,500 people work in its pubs, hotels, brewery and distribution centre.