A leading South Croydon business figure has called for an urgent cut in business rates and for the 20 per cent VAT rate to be axed to help bars and restaurants survive the double-dip recession and avoid the fate of Le Cassoulet, the prestigious Selsdon Road restaurant which, as Inside Croydon first reported, closed down last month with its owner blaming the downturn in trade and lack of help from the council.
Linda Arthur, the manager of Txt Bar on South End, is the secretary of the South Croydon Business Association. She contacted Inside Croydon saying that the closure of Le Cassoulet is a “sad example of the current trading conditions that are strangling the restaurant and hospitality industries throughout the country”.
Arthur said: “In a double dip recession, with business rates and rents at an all-time high against turnover and supermarkets being allowed to sell food at 0 per cent VAT, while restaurants are forced to charge 20 per cent, it is not surprising that this fine restaurant was forced to close.
“And that’s without considering the lack of customers following the riots and the loss of huge businesses, like Nestle, in the area.”
Arthur has asked for public support for a Facebook campaign to get VAT reduced to 5 per cent on restaurant food, non-alcoholic drinks and accommodation in the hospitality industry to save worthy businesses.
“Twenty-one countries in the EU have a lower VAT rate for the hotel sector and 13 for the overall hospitality sector,” Arthur said.
“In France, tax was reduced from 19.65 per cent to 5 per cent and led to the creation of 21,700 jobs in the first year. A cut in VAT could help create 320,000 jobs in the post Olympic years and help save pubs, restaurants and hotels.
“I sincerely hope that no more of our fine and worthy restaurants in South Croydon suffer the same fate as Le Cassoulet, due to the government’s lack of action on saving this important employment sector in the UK.”
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