Restaurant leader calls for cut in VAT to aid British hospitality

A Scottish restaurant leader has claimed that a cut in VAT for the British hospitality industry could help companies improve their competitiveness.

Malcolm Duck, chairman of the Edinburgh Restaurateurs Association, told that many UK businesses have been unable to put their prices up after seeing the percentage of VAT rise from 15 per cent up to the current rate of 20 per cent.

As reported by, the British Hospitality Association has since last year campaigned for a five per cent cut in VAT, claiming this could unlock growth in the industry and generate up to 80,000 jobs.

Using concerns from members of the Edinburgh Restaurateurs Association to support his point, Mr Duck highlighted that restaurants in France and Germany pay just seven per cent in VAT. In Ireland businesses pay nine per cent, while in Italy and Spain the rate is 10 per cent.

Due to the UK government’s current tax requirements, the average conference venue in London will pay more VAT tax than the rest of its competitors across London. Mr Duck said a relief for such businesses would improve their prospects to no end.

“A VAT cut would help the industry significantly,” he added. “It would lead to more employment and ensure businesses which are marginal but doing nothing wrong could survive and prosper.”

Mr Duck went on to claim that if he (the owner of a restaurant in Edinburgh) was to receive a cut in VAT, the extra finance would help support running of his operation.

“If I was to get that VAT cut it wouldn’t got back into my back pocket, or necessarily lead to a lowering in prices. But it would mean being able to employ a couple more staff, being able to give them a bonus and being able to reinvest in equipment.”