WANT CHANGE? HATE VAT? THEN WRITE TO YOUR LOCAL MP!
By Stelios Theocharous
Ceres | Pure Food Innovation
The hospitality industry is facing many challenges, the issue of VAT being a very important one. For many years, Ceres has written articles and produced podcasts informing you about the role of VAT and how it works in the hospitality industry, and we won’t stop.
We genuinely understand how difficult it is to work with VAT at 20%. We know you all have to play by the rules, but how about being part of an opportunity to change these rules?
Around ten years ago, we put out a poster to help educate your customers on VAT. Many customers still today have no idea that 20% of the meal price goes to The Treasury. We have always said that educating customers starts in your shop, with a bottom-up approach.
In our view, it’s always useful to have a notice on your menus and a tax or VAT subtotal on your receipts; you cannot complain that customers don’t know about VAT if they are not informed. Whilst it’s not foolproof, you may do this and customers still don’t take any notice, it is best practice and gives you something to point to if a customer takes issue with your pricing.
Now and then the topic of lobbying government about reduced VAT comes up. I genuinely believe that you need to start the process now by first educating your local MP on the role VAT plays within your business. With the temporary cut to 5% meaning VAT is already low, this is the ideal time to lobby your MP on the reasons for keeping it low and the benefits this could have on hospitality. You would hope he/she would want to truly support your local business and relay information back up to the right people in government. There is no harm whatsoever in liaising with your local MP, be informative and talk about the real issues.
The conversation should start on a one-to-one level, but you should then escalate it to your trade organisation to push the agenda on a national level.
If you need some talking points about VAT on a broader level, then get in touch with Andrew Crook (President) from the NFFF. If you want the NFFF to pursue this agenda they will need funds. If you are not a member, now is the time to become one.
Remember, this is a fight that will take a lot of time, so be patient and play the long game but do not give up.