The Federation of Bangladeshi Caterers (FoBC) and the Asian Caterers Federation (ACF) are currently campaigning for a cut in VAT in the hospitality sector. The organisations represent between them, some 35,000 UK Asian eateries – including Indian, Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, and Bangladeshi cuisine, encompassing both restaurants and takeaways – and believe that the current VAT for restaurants is too high. At present, the hospitality sector VAT stands at 20%, meaning £1 in every five spent in restaurants, takeaways and hotels goes to the government. The FoBC and ACF want to cut this down to 5%.
FoBC Chairman, Yawar Khan, raised the issue with Chancellor George Osborne last February, explaining what a drastic impact the tax is having on the Bangladeshi community and small business owners in general. He pointed out that alongside the 20% tax, restaurateurs also have to pay National Insurance, corporation and income tax, along with local council rates and excise duty, which can take its toll on profits.
As well as benefitting small business owners, British Economists have predicted that a cut from 20% to 5% could also result in the creation of between 270,000-350,000 new jobs. When tax was cut from 19.65% to 5.5% in France, a massive 21,700 new jobs were created in the first year alone, and it is believed that Britain could follow this trend, as well as the cut potentially reducing the Government’s benefits bill and boosting overall tax receipts.
The FoBC and ACF are encouraging restaurant customers and Asian food lovers to sign an online petition to support the cause. Khan stated, “Restaurant customers don’t always realise that the Chancellor is taking a huge slice every time they settle their bill”, nor do they realise the effect it is having on the wider community.
To help save smaller businesses and support your local Asian restaurant or takeaway, sign the change.org petition. And remember to let us know if you support the campaign or not in the comment section below – all opinions welcome!