Pubs boss tells UK business chiefs to ‘put a sock in it’
THE head of pub chain JD Wetherspoon yesterday earned a rebuke from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) after telling the organisation’s head to “put a sock in it” over Brexit negotiations.
The business lobby was reacting after 62-year-old pub company founder and Brexit campaigner Tim Martin said that “gloomsters” such as CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn should not interfere with the government’s negotiations.
“Rather than slinging mud, Mr Martin should know that all the major UK business groups have made clear the risks to the economy of leaving the EU without a deal,” a CBI spokesperson said.
Earlier, Mr Martin – whose chain has expanded into Ireland and is developing a 98-bedroom hotel on Camden St in Dublin – said the UK economy could thrive even if no trade deal was reached with the EU, and that British negotiators should not be seen to want a deal too much.
“As any buyer of a house or car knows, if you want something too badly, you will pay a very high price – especially if your desire is obvious to the counter-party,” Mr Martin said at the end of Wetherspoon’s latest trading update.
Yesterday, Wetherspoon said like-for-like sales rose 5.3pc in the 11 weeks to July 9.
The UK pub industry is under strain after the pound’s devaluation following the Brexit vote pushed up the cost of imported food and beer.
A hike in the UK minimum wage means Wetherspoon is having to pay bar staff more and could force closures, the company said.
Wetherspoon founder and Brexit supporter Tim Martin criticised the CBI for warning about the risks of exiting the EU without a deal