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Asian catering federations urge members to back 'Tax Parity Day'

Asian catering federations urge members to back 'Tax Parity Day'

The Federation of Bangladeshi Caterers (FoBC), Asian Caterers Federation (ACF) and Malaysian Restaurant Association (MRA) are urging restaurant owners to support Jacques Borel's 'Tax Parity Day' on Wednesday 25th September.

The move follows a meeting in London with Jacques Borel the veteran campaigner, the French Resistance fighter cum restaurateur/hotelier, who is lobbying the UK Government to slash VAT, in order to boost jobs and the economy.

The FoBC chairman Yawar Khan, Teddy Chen (chairman MRA) and Thomas Chan (co chairman ACF) met M. Borel at Sofitel (the chain he bought in 1975) to plan a joint strategy. Interview with all four were broadcast in a special VAT report on Channel S which can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/Pa74JUH08bE.

All three federations are pressing Chancellor George Osborne to cut VAT on restaurant bills from 20% to 5% and are encouraging its members to cut prices by 7.5% for a day. The predicted surge in customers dining out on that day will demonstrate to the Government that an immediate boost to business and employment can be achieved at a stroke – for a fraction of the cost of ineffectual ‘quantitative easing’ which has only benefited banks and corporate borrowers.

Every one of the 27 EU member states in the EU, except Denmark, has reduced its rate of VAT to stimulate their economies.  Thirteen have a reduced rate for restaurant meals.  21 EU countries have lower VAT rates than the UK.

A similar move in France, for which M. Borel campaigned for over six years, saw VAT drop from 19.6% to 5.5% in July 2009 creating 225,000 jobs in the French hospitality sector within a year of implementation.

“The restaurant business is labour intensive – when more people eat out, restaurateurs take on more staff,” said Yawar Khan, adding, “The move will create jobs that are most needed – for the young, the low skilled, part-timers and single mothers.”

Economists believe that the loss of VAT payments to Government would be recouped in three years through increased corporation and income taxes, National insurance and a reduction in benefits – creating over 320,000 new jobs in the process.

The FoBC hopes to gain the 100,000 signatures needed to spark a parliamentary debate on the VAT issue to its online petition at www.change.org/petitions/cut-vat-from-20-to-5-in-the-hospitality-sector-and-create-270-000-new-jobs#share.

The remarkable career, achievements and current activities of former hotelier and restaurateur Jacques Borels now aged 86, but with the vigour of many men a third his age, can be viewed at www.vatclubjacquesborel.co.uk  In 2009 he successfully lobbied 27 EU Finance Ministers to vote unanimously to allow member states to  decrease VAT on restaurants.

To promote the campaign, the FoBC and ACF will supply over 100,000 ‘Polling Cards’ to the country’s Indian, Bangladeshi and Asian restaurants to encourage customers to vote online in this year’s Asian Curry awards – run jointly by the FoBC and ACF.

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