Skip to main content
3rd August 2020

Campaign for Pubs Calls for VAT Cut

The Government has turned its back on thousands of local community pubs

The Campaign for Pubs, the national grassroots campaign to promote, support and protect pubs, has called on the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak’s to show support for thousands of local community pubs by cutting VAT to 5% for 12 months, for all on-sales in pubs.

The Campaign for Pubs have been campaigning for a 12-month VAT cut for all hospitality, so that all the nation’s pubs would be assisted through the current crisis. However in the summer statement, the Chancellor only cut VAT for food and soft drinks, which gave a huge boost to large fast food chain restaurants like McDonalds and pub-restaurants like Wetherspoons – and gave no help to the pubs that really need it, small wet-led pubs. Many smaller pubs are struggling with reduced trade following three months with no income at all. The recently published #6PointstoSavePubs – 6 key calls to the Government and the pub sector to help pubs and publicans and to prevent many pub closures and one of these is a cut in VAT to 5% for all pubs.

The Campaign for Pubs call for an urgent VAT cut to help all pubs comes as the European Commission has confirmed that the UK is able to offer such a cut, with EU member states allowed to apply targeted reductions on VAT on drinks, including alcohol, something that has previously not been possible.

Other countries have already made wider VAT cuts, on beer, which is crucial to wet-led pubs, which urgently need Government support. Many traditional community pubs don’t serve food and so only a cut on beer – and ideally on all products – will help.
The Campaign for Pubs supports any VAT cut that will help pubs, with beer being key for many, but a VAT cut on all sales in pubs would be much easier to administer that a cut simply on beer, with pubs then able to charge 5% on all drinks and food bought to consume on the premises. It would also assist UK cider maker and producers of other products enjoyed in pubs. Any takeaways would continue to be charged at 20% giving a real incentive for people to sit in and enjoy the atmosphere of our pubs and would also allow publicans to get through the ongoing period of restricted trade and uncertainty.

The Campaign for Pubs is urging all pub lovers to back the calls for 5% VAT for all pubs and all of the #6PointstoSavePubs to stop many pub closures – and to call on their MPs and the Government to back them too – and save pubs. The Campaign for Pubs have also started a petition on and is urging all pro-pub people to sign it.

The Campaign for Pubs exists to provide a real voice for pubs, bringing together publicans, customers and brewers and allow who love pubs and value our pub culture. The Campaign for Pubs campaigns for a better, freer and fairer, more sustainable pub sector as laid out in the mission statement. The Campaign for Pubs costs £25 a year to join, or £40 for a couple and members become part of a national network of those who care about pubs and their future.

Commenting, Greg Mulholland, Campaign Director of the Campaign for Pubs said:
“Now that the European Commission have confirmed that VAT cuts can be extended, the Chancellor should now show support for thousands of community pubs and cut VAT top 5% for all pubs, on all their on-sales. At the moment, it is hugely unfair that many of the pubs who need help most aren’t getting any, whilst multi-million pound businesses like McDonalds and Wetherspoons are. If the Government are serious are supporting pubs, they need to get a VAT cut for all pubs now”.

Commenting, Dawn Hopkins, Vice-Chair of the Campaign for Pubs and licensee of the Rose Inn, Norwich, said:
“Many wet-led pubs, real community locals, currently aren’t receiving any help even though business is restricted and trade is significantly reduced. It was deeply disappointing when in the summer statement, the Chancellor gave huge tax breaks to huge restaurant chains and gave no support to thousands of proper community locals. Now it has been confirmed that it is possible, it is time for the Government to support all pubs and we urge Rishi Sunak to listen and give all pubs and publicans a boost through a 5% VAT cut for all pubs”.

Notes to editors

  1. The Campaign for Pubs website is, Twitter and Facebook are @campaignforpubs
  2. The Campaign for Pubs is a member organisation of the British Pub Confederation (the Confederation of independent organisations representing pubs and pub campaigners) and the Campaign for Pubs will administer and support the ongoing work of the Confederation to further strengthen representation for pubs and publicans.

For more information, contact media