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JD Wetherspoon founder calls time on EU and demands ‘level tax playing field’

09:16 11 March 2016

File photo dated 20/1/09 of a JD Wetherspoon pub in central London. Picture: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

File photo dated 20/1/09 of a JD Wetherspoon pub in central London. Picture: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Pub giant JD Wetherspoon said staff pay rises ahead of the national living wage knocked profits, as the chain’s founder came out in favour of leaving the European Union.

The firm, which runs 954 pubs, said pre-tax-profits slipped 3.9pc to £36m in the 26 weeks to January 24 compared to a year ago, after two recent pay increases.

It said it gave its employees a pay increase in October 2014 and last July, amounting to a 13pc overall wage rise. The business employs 37,000 staff.

The move comes ahead of the Government’s introduction of the national living wage next month, which will lift minimum hourly pay to £7.20 for over 25s, from its current level of £6.50, and to at least £9 an hour by 2020.

The pub chain said like-for-like sales in the period were 2.9pc, while sales at established pubs in the six weeks to March 6 lifted to 3.7pc.

Founder and chairmen Tim Martin said: “Sales comparisons in the second half of the financial year will be slightly more favourable, although further wage increases are due in April.

“The pub and restaurant market is highly competitive, but we are aiming for a reasonable outcome for the financial year.”

Mr Martin also cautioned Chancellor George Osborne against raising taxes in the pub industry ahead of next week’s Budget.

The array of taxes JD Wetherspoon pays includes VAT, alcohol duty, corporation tax, gaming machine duty, landfill tax and a climate change levy.

Mr Martin said: “There is a growing realisation among politicians, the media and the public that pubs are overtaxed and that a level tax playing field will create more jobs and taxes for the country.”

The founder of the pub group also came out in favour of Brexit.

He said: “All major powers should be permanently retained by national parliaments with a free vote for everyone, a free press, free courts, freedom of speech and religion, and with the church playing a symbolic role only in the constitution.”

The pub boss said it would soon be time for everyone in the UK to come to a decision on this matter.

Mr Martin added: “As those Eurovision songsters Bucks Fizz memorably put it, it’s time for making your mind up.”

3 comments

  • There is one good reason the Remain campaign is so negative and has become known as Project Fear - it's because they can't think of anything positive to say about the EU! The EU is a 1970s solution for a 1940s problem. The overall economy of the EU is on the decline and we are in danger of being dragged down by it. And if you think things are bad now, wait til Turkey and all the former Russian states join - that's another 130 million people in real active poverty from totally alien cultures joining the queue for our jobs, benefits and NHS services

    Report this comment

    Citizen of EUSSR

    Monday, March 14, 2016

  • This is a successful businessman, who has the strength of his convictions, remember he relies on the UK prospering; his profit margin is linked to expendable income. For me its all about democracy; if the people of the UK vote for Green Beer or Brambley apples then the EU does not have the right to over-ride our will. So when we vote in a government which decrees that benefit are only for the migrants that qualify after four years that is how it should be. Especially when the countries that would decide otherwise pay little or no benefits to their own people. The EU has the dice loaded in favour of the countries like Romania Poland and Bulgaria; they all receive far more than they put in and have a vested interest in the Status Quo. It is no surprise that the EU president Mr Tusk and his predecessor are both Polish and Angela Merkyl Mother was born in what is now Gadansk, Poland. Poland is one of the biggest beneficiary of the EU. The relentless move towards Political union erodes the very democracy we have fought to preserve in two world wars, It's time to leave.

    Report this comment

    Jay Tee

    Saturday, March 12, 2016

  • This is a successful businessman, who has the strength of his convictions, remember he relies on the UK prospering; his profit margin is linked to expendable income. For me its all about democracy; if the people of the UK vote for Green Beer or Brambley apples then the EU does not have the right to over-ride our will. So when we vote in a government which decrees that benefit are only for the migrants that qualify after four years that is how it should be. Especially when the countries that would decide otherwise pay little or no benefits to their own people. The EU has the dice loaded in favour of the countries like Romania Poland and Bulgaria; they all receive far more than they put in and have a vested interest in the Status Quo. It is no surprise that the EU president Mr Tusk and his predecessor are both Polish and Angela Merkyl Mother was born in what is now Gadansk, Poland. Poland is one of the biggest beneficiary of the EU. The relentless move towards Political union erodes the very democracy we have fought to preserve in two world wars, It's time to leave.

    Report this comment

    Jay Tee

    Saturday, March 12, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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