September 13, 2011
The Publican, Morning Advertiser, 04-Aug-2011
Get behind Thrive on 5, get behind British Pub Week and get behind securing the future of a national institution, says Ewan Turney.
Turney: invite your MP to your pub
Last week the Treasury ruled out a cut in VAT to 5% for the hospitality sector. Frankly, this came as no surprise to those who are involved in the Thrive on 5 campaign.
We have stressed from the outset that this is going to be a long battle. The campaign to convince the Government is not going to be won in a few months or even a year — the aim of the campaign is to push through the targeted VAT cut by 2014.
The rebuffal from the Treasury serves only to harden our resolve. It shows what a tough job lies ahead if the Government is to be convinced and how committed everyone in the industry — from licensees at the coalface to pubcos, trade bodies and suppliers — must be to the cause.Sources at the British Hospitality Association also reveal talks with the Treasury are ongoing and officials are listening.
The campaign must be at the forefront of everyone’s minds and we should never waste an opportunity to spread the word to anyone who will listen and, vitally, that includes the public — your customers.The PMA has designed posters and petitions to go up in your pub — they are downloadable from our website — and it is a great chance to get the public on our side and show the Government that it is not just those with a vested interest who see sense in this move.
And that is why the link-up with British Pub Week makes so much sense. The event was a roaring success last year, with MPs visiting pubs and queuing around the block to attend a parliamentary reception.
It represented one of the industry’s best opportunities to meet and influence MPs on a grand scale.Even David Cameron visited his local. The week will incorporate Proud of Pubs Week, which also gained significant traction with MPs who visited pubs in their constituency to show their support.
It would be great if every licensee up and down the country wrote to their MP to tell them about British Pub Week and invited them down to work a shift in the pub by way of celebration.For MPs, it is a no-brainer — it represents a fantastic PR opportunity for them to be seen out and about in their constituency. And while your MP is there — hopefully with the local press in tow — there is no better time to remind them not only of the benefits of the pub but also of the struggles they currently face and how a VAT cut would help, and has been proved to work abroad in places such as France.
Almost 1 million people in the UK depend on beer and pubs for work while the beer and pub trade adds over £21bn to the UK economy every year, and £13.4bn in UK wages are dependent on the trade annually.
Pubs raise around £110m a year for charity at a rate of about £3,000 per pub — that is highly significant. Yet pubs are at risk. You can be a part of turning it around.
A VAT cut could help create 320,000 jobs in the post-Olympic years and create more tax revenue for the Government.
Get behind Thrive on 5, get behind British Pub Week and get behind securing the future of a national institution.