Martin calls for simultaneous reopening

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin is calling on the government to open pubs at the same time as non-essential shops reopen.

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin is calling on the government to open pubs at the same time as non-essential shops reopen.

The pub company founder says that the pub industry is “on its knees” and that pubs across the UK need to reopen in order to save the industry and the associated jobs.

Much like many other operators, Martin has reiterated to the government that the pub industry makes a massive contribution to the economy, with Wetherspoon alone paying about £10 of tax for every £1 of profit it makes.

“In the last 10 years, Wetherspoon has generated £6.1bn  of taxes, something we are very proud of," he says. “In the financial year to July 2019, before the pandemic, Wetherspoon, its customers and employees generated £764m of taxes, £1 in every thousand collected by the UK government.

Martin says that 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.

"The big worry in the hospitality industry is that the government is playing a PR game, creating an illusion of positive action, and will find an excuse to tie the industry down with restrictions by, for example, allowing outside eating and drinking only when the pubs reopen – as a result the entire industry would be heavily loss making.

“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, which were agreed with the health authorities, after full consultation, for the 4 July reopening last year. Unless the industry does reopen on that basis, economic mayhem will inevitably follow.”