Martin rubbishes Brexit slump on strong ‘spoons performance

Coinslot Tim Martin Wetherspoons
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With positive financial figures from his nation-spanning pubco at his back, Tim Martin has once again issued a salvo against Brexit critics.

Off the back of strong interim results, Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin has reiterated his backing of the Brexit process and called for a most positive outlook on the process of the UK leaving the European Union.

The pubco has enjoyed a like-for-like sales increase of 3.2 percent for the three months to mid-January, along with a 3.4 percent climb over the previous six months year-on-year. On news of the mid-period results, shares in the company climbed 2.5 percent to 926p.

However, Martin ensured that his company hit the headlines for more than just positive results, continuing his opposition to Brexit critics.

He described pessimistic economics as showing “catastrophically poor judgement” and accused them of having a “semi-religious” faith in the EU.

“The majority of economists, economic institutions, politicians and intellectuals has consistently misunderstood the implications of the euro, its predecessor the exchange rate mechanism and the implications of leaving the EU, over a period of about 30 years,” he said. “Unless these lessons are learned and acknowledged by economists, their historic mistakes will be repeated.”

Martin has also previously warned that if the remainining EU countries “bully” the UK into a poor trade agreement, he will cut ties with his European suppliers. For his part, he suggests adopting a strategy created the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

“Most people now understand that the mutual imposition of WTO tariffs would create a windfall for the UK, so a sensible basic mantra for the UK is ‘free trade or World Trade Organisation rules – the EU can choose’,” he said.

Returning to the forthcoming fortunes of his pub chain, as well as the wider industry, Martin said that he expected food and drink prices to rise across the pub market thanks to increased taxation.

“It’s inevitable that prices will rise within the sector because costs are going up,” he said, “but that’s not because of the weaker pound, but because of business rates, which are a tax, as well as increased wage costs.

“We’d like to see more tax equality with supermarkets – which have much lower rates than pubs – so we’ll be bending [Chancellor] Philip Hammond’s ear on that this year.”

The introduction of the National Living Wage is expected to have a dramatic effect across various leisure industries and pubs will be no exception. Wetherspoons estimates that it will raise costs company-wide by four percent.

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