CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak will extend the VAT cut on pubs and restaurants until at least June, The Sun can reveal.
And the five per cent rate may carry on for the rest of the year as businesses reopen.
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Treasury sources told The Sun that the extension for the hospitality industry was deemed part of the pandemic package and would continue until the end of the lockdown exit plan which will see outdoor hospitality open on April 12.
Mr Sunak yesterday reassured the industry he was looking out for them, after hearing from campaigning pub landlord and ex-model Jodie Kidd.
He said on Times Radio: “It’s because I care about that industry and the people who work in it that I want to try and do what I can for those jobs.
“They should feel reassured they remain uppermost in my mind.”
Pub chiefs urged Mr Sunak to also cut beer duty in this week’s Budget.
Emma McClarkin, of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “When we are through this crisis it is pubs that will bring our communities together again.”
Mr Sunak issued his biggest hint at tax rises and warned he will have to “level” with the nation over Covid costs.
He all but confirmed that the furlough scheme would continue until June, saying: “There is more to come.”
You can tick off the days to pubs reopening with our Bar-o-meter.
The Sun says
THE vaccine roll-out is something the Government can rightly feel proud of.
But the Budget this week needs to be Rishi Sunak’s “Hold my beer” moment.
Though he’s done well to support the economy through the pandemic, the moves he announces on Wednesday could massively help the country’s bounce-back, or stall the recovery before it gets going.
The extension of the VAT cut for hospitality businesses will be a great start.
A freeze or cut in fuel duty would be a similar boost for the white van drivers who have kept Britain going during lockdown and for parts of the country that don’t have good public transport.
People know the nation’s finances are in a mess and the unprecedented Covid borrowing will need to be paid back.
But tax rises now will not refill empty government coffers like tax receipts from a booming economy will do.
So it’s time to be bold, again, Rishi.
Take advantage of the shot in the arm the vaccine roll-out has given Britain.
Help the pubs; help the high street; help businesses to create more jobs, and you’ll be the toast of the nation.
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