Wetherspoon pours out Brexit message on beer mats

Tim Martin, boss of cheap-and-cheerful pub chain JD Wetherspoon and an outspoken supporter of the UK’s departure from the EU, has turned his attention from getting any Brexit to getting the right Brexit.

Drinkers will be greeted by a “hard-hitting message on Brexit” when they look down at beer mats awaiting them in the chain’s 895 UK pubs, the company said.

The message, printed on 500,000 mats, calls on the leaders of the UK’s three main political parties to “stop messing about” and endorse the company’s “three-point manifesto.” In the weeks leading up to the EU referendum last year, the chain distributed 200,000 beer mats making the case for Brexit.

The new beer mats urge the UK government to take steps that would help Wetherspoon, including unilaterally granting citizenship rights to legal EU immigrants, probably because Wetherspoon employs 3,500 foreign workers. Wetherspoon wants to eliminate taxes on food imported from outside the EU, while ensuring that food imports from the EU into the UK also continue to be tax-free from 2019.

The beer mats also want the UK to stop paying £200m (€227) a week into “EU coffers”. Mr Martin previously backed the now infamous £350m-a-week figure that was paraded on the side of a Leave campaign bus.

The UK government will be able to lower food prices “at a stroke” after exiting the EU, Mr Martin said, while taking a swipe at J Sainsbury chairman David Tyler, calling his estimates of higher food prices in the event of an EU exit without a deal “highly misleading”. “It’s important to provide the public with the truth, so that they are able to decide for themselves,” Mr Martin said.

Meanwhile, a UK manufacturing survey showed output strengthened in October but measures of prices and capacity indicated an inflationary buildup within the industry. IHS Markit said costs rose and firms increased selling prices at the fastest pace in six months.

The Bank of England announces its latest policy decision later today, when it’s expected to increase interest rates from a record-low 0.25%.


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