Tim Martin has this morning rebuked the government over JD Wetherspoon’s £400m tax bill and called on the new coalition to reverse the trend of “job and social destruction”. The chairman and founder of the 700 plus managed pub group said most legislation aimed at curbing excessive alcohol consumption had been laid at pubs. In turn, he added: “The net result of the previous government’s policy of increased taxes and regulations affecting the pub industry has been the closure of many pubs, often, but not always, in rural areas and villages, with consequent damaging effects on the social life of these communities.” He warned that such a move was turning drinkers to the supermarkets. Martin added: “In addition, the government’s policies have resulted in pub consumption being replaced mainly by supermarket sales, resulting in a higher level of unsupervised drinking, and significantly lower taxes for the government. “As alcohol consumption in pubs has declined sharply and off-sales have increased, alcohol related problems have worsened, which suggests that pub consumption is preferable to off-sales.” Conversely, the was lowering the government’s tax take as, “the average price of a pint in a pub is now over £2.50 and the tax payable, from the various taxes referred to above, is at least £1 per pint. In contrast, taxes, including VAT, are only about half that amount on a pint purchased from a supermarket, due to the lower VAT, but also to the lower impact of property and employment taxes.” And the industry veteran – who is speaking at next week’s UK Pub Retail Summit, which is organised by M&C Report and the Morning Advertiser – called for a French style VAT system for eating and drinking out establishments – where the tax has been reduced to 5.5%. Martin said: “Early evidence suggests that more tax has been levied by the French government as a result through, job creation, greater income tax, increased salaries for employees and increased corporation tax.”