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03-05-2012, 13:42
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Tim Martin of Wetherspoon’s is one of those irritating people who seem to alternate between talking good sense and utter drivel. For example, his comments a while back (http://pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/real-age-drinking-starts.html) on the rigid enforcement of age restrictions leading to more unhealthy drinking patterns were spot-on. But his latest claims (http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/Company-City-News/Wetherspoon-s-bemoans-tax-burden-after-small-increase-in-like-for-like-sales) that VAT puts pubs at an unfair disadvantage on food sales vis-a-vis supermarkets seems very wide of the mark.
I don’t want to go into the basic principles of taxation, but it clearly seems sensible not to levy VAT on basic foodstuffs bought in shops, whereas most meals out are, to some extent, an indulgence, and include a substantial element of service, not just food. While drink sales in pubs have tanked in recent years, the eating-out sector continues to enjoy healthy growth, so to claim that restaurants are being put out of business by Tesco and ASDA seems utterly ludicrous. Even less so than with drink, it’s very rarely a straightforward either-or choice between eating out or in. On this issue at least, perhaps Timbo should stop whingeing and put his own business house in order.
What’s next, you have to wonder, a minimum price for food? Oh... (http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/minimum-pricing-for-food.html)

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