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'Ridiculous' UK tax system killing off pubs: boss

The chairman of one of the U.K.'s biggest pub chains, JD Wetherspoon, said the future of the British boozer hinges on supermarkets being taxed the same rate for alcohol sales.

Tim Martin said the government had chosen "probably in ignorance" to widen the tax disparity between supermarkets and pubs – a situation which he said is "ridiculous".

(Read more: Heineken profits drop as developing markets disappoint)

"If you have got two businesses next door to each other, selling the same thing, they should pay approximately the same tax. Everyone agrees that, they just don't know how to get there," Martin told CNBC after the group posted earnings for the first half of its financial year.

"It helps that there is good weather – but the future of pubs very much depends on gaining tax equality. You pay 15p of business rates per pint when you buy a pint in a pub and 1.5p in a supermarket. The situation on VAT is ridiculous," he said.

Sally Anscombe | Flickr | Getty Images

The chain, which has more than 900 pubs across the U.K. saw pre-tax profits rise 3.2 percent to £36 million, with sales in the six months to 26 January rising 9.1 percent to £683.2 million.

(Read more: Micropubs: Small is beautiful for UK boozers)

Martin said the results were down to a "pretty good effort by the chaps in the pubs and in the head office".

"Good sales growth across the board and food particularly strong, so all in all five percent like for like sales growth in this market is pretty good," he said.

(Read more: Craft beer boom has room to run, industry experts say)

The results were strong compared to last year, when the chain saw profits fall 2.7 percent to £34.8 million, blamed on higher taxes and increased labor costs.

Wetherspoons plans to open its first pubs in the Republic of Ireland and aims to open another 40 to 50 new pubs in the UK this year.

By CNBC's Jenny Cosgrave: Follow her on Twitter @jenny_cosgrave

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