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UK pub chain on Apple tax issue: 'I wish we could sell beer over the internet'

The founder and chairman of one of the U.K.'s leading pub chains has lambasted the current tax regime in Europe, saying the rules seem to favor large technology companies such as Apple.

When asked about the recent furor surrounding Apple, which has been ordered to pay $14.5 billion to the Irish government, he said that he wished "he could sell people a pint of beer over the internet."

"It would reduce our tax bill enormously," J D Wetherspoon Founder and Chairman, Tim Martin, told CNBC Friday.


Earlier this month, the European Commission ruled that Ireland must claw back billions in unpaid taxes from U.S. tech giant Apple. It has caused shockwaves in the business world with questions now being asked over the future of multinationals in Europe and international taxation rules.

However, Martin's main gripe was not corporation tax but sales tax, which amounts to 20 percent on most goods and services in the country.

"The main issue for pubs in Britain, and restaurants, is supermarkets pay no VAT (value added tax) on food and we pay 20 percent," he said.

"That's a real killer over the long run especially in less well-off areas where the tax differential matters. And people go to supermarkets and stay out of pubs, that's bad for the economy, bad for jobs."