Wetherspoons’ Tim Martin: ‘Surely it is possible for the hospitality industry to reopen at the same time as non-essential shops’

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Chairman of British pub chain JD Wetherspoon Tim Martin is today calling on the government to reopen pubs at the same time as non-essential shops.

Martin stated that the pub industry was ‘on its knees’, and further restrictions would be the end to many businesses and thousands of jobs. He hoped that the industry would be able to restart again in April.

Pubs across the UK are currently closed due to the pandemic, and although they can offer takeaways the controversial chairman believes changes need to be made.

Martin said: “Surely it is possible for the hospitality industry to reopen at the same time as non-essential shops, now that a vaccine exists, on the basis of the social distancing and hygiene regulations.”

In the financial year to July 2019, the chain paid over £760m in taxes – and Martin believes that further restrictions could further impact the wider economy.

He said: “The amount of tax paid by Wetherspoon is replicated, according to the size of the company, throughout the pub industry, and shows just how important pubs are to the economy.”

In October last year, JD Wetherspoon reported its first annual pre-tax loss since 1984 due to the impact of COVID-19 – and the company revealed a £105.4m loss.

Last month, Martin sold more than £50m worth of JD Wetherspoons’ shares in order to fund buying new pubs, when restrictions are relaxed.

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