Pubs boss tells UK busi­ness chiefs to ‘put a sock in it’

Irish Independent - Business Week - - BUSINESSWEEK - Thomas Buck­ley

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

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