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J D Wetherspoon has released results for the 26 weeks to 27 January (results). The pub chain saw pre-tax profits up slightly from £33.2m (in the 26 weeks to 22 January) to £34.8m, but higher taxes have hit the firm. Chairman Tim Martin said:
The outcome for the first half of the financial year was reasonable, given the pressures on the UK consumer.
As previously stated, the biggest danger to the pub industry, is the VAT disparity between supermarkets and pubs and the continuing imposition of stealth taxes, such as the late-night levy, and the increase in fruit/slot machine taxes.
Taxation and input costs will continue to rise, but, overall, the company continues to aim for a reasonable outcome in the current financial year.
Mash Beer Tax, a campaign launched by the TaxPayers' Alliance, finds that in the last four years 5,800 pubs have closed and 60,000 jobs have been lost. The level of excise duty in the UK is second highest in the European Union.