Twenty-five major operators have signed a campaign to cut VAT to 5% for the UK hospitality trade. French lobbyist Jacques Borel, the man behind France’s 19.6% to 5.5% VAT cut, told delegates at the M&C Report’s 2011 Restaurant Conference in London last week that he expected 50 operators to have signed up by Easter next year. “I went to see the Government, treasury, MPs and heads of the big pub and restaurant chains,” he said. “They said it would never work. They sentenced it to disaster so when people tell me it won’t work — it will. People have no vision. It will work in Britain because there is no choice. We have to create jobs. “Things are changing. One month ago four people had signed the campaign, now 25 people have signed it and by Easter 50 people will have signed it.” When asked why signatories had shot up for four to 25, Borel answered: “People do understand that the plan of the Government is going to work. We have to lobby on it and decrease VAT for the industry. We can create jobs very fast. Borel said it was on track for getting something on VAT in the 2013 Budget. “As of 3 or 4 January, I start my visits to the UK.” Borel has created a round table including organisations such as the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, the British Hospitality Association, the British Beer and Pub Association, Tourism Alliance and Visit Britain. On the first Wednesday of every month there will be a meeting. “We need the growth for wealth, profits, jobs and creativity. I never give up,” he finished. Borel’s lobbying has also resulted in VAT decreases in Finland from 33% to 13% on food and to 7% on accommodation and in Belgium from 21% to 12% on food and 6% on accommodation.