WETHERSPOON customers could see lower prices in the event of a no deal Brexit the firm’s boss has said.
Tim Martin, chairman of the pub chain, told the Guardian that customers could see price cuts on wines including New Zealand sauvignon blanc and Australian merlot.
Reuters Wetherspoon’s boss says prices could come down in a no deal Brexit
He added that cuts may also be passed on to menu items that include oranges and bananas.
Mr Martin told the paper: “If there’s no deal and we implement the tariff schedule that the Government is suggesting I believe that prices will be lower than they otherwise would have been at Wetherspoon and elsewhere.”
The comments from Mr Martin, who isn’t shy about expressing his pro-Brexit views, come as the Government this week revealed its plans for import taxes – known as tariffs – in the event of a no deal departure from the EU.
If a trade deal with the EU isn’t agreed, a tax on one in 10 European Union imports to the UK will be introduced.
PA:Press Association Tim Martin has been a strong supporter of leaving the EU
But at the same time tariffs will be cut on certain imports coming from outside of the EU.
It’s these tax cuts that Mr Martin says could be passed on to create lower prices for consumers.
Mr Martin told the Guardian: “I think it’ll have a positive impact on our direct costs, but I think also if you get rid of tariffs and quotas I think it gives a message to foreign companies that you’re open for business.”
The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WTA) says tariffs currently add around 9p to 32p to the price of a bottle of wine – although how much depends on the type of wine, the alcohol content, and whether the tax is passed on to consumers.
Miles Beale, chief executive of the WTA said earlier this week: “We welcomed the Government’s move to suspend tariffs on all wine in the event of a no deal and this sensible move should be kept in place.
“It recognises that we import virtually all the wine we consume in the UK and would temporarily stop the introduction of tariffs on wine from the EU, as well as suspending tariffs for wine from Australia, New Zealand, USA and Argentina.”
Getty – Contributor Mr Martin says wine imported from Australia and New Zealand could fall in price
In contrast, think tank the Adam Smith Institute and trade body the British Retail Consortium have both raised concerns that the tariff changes could push up prices for shoppers.
Matthew Lesh, head of research at the Adam Smith Institute said at the time of the Government’s announcement: “Brits are set to pay substantial import taxes on meat. We’ll be paying more for Spanish chorizo, New Zealand lamb and Danish pork.
“Tariffs are a tax on British consumers that make food more expensive.”
While Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium warned that tariff changes will “push up costs and reduce the choice on the shelves we currently enjoy”.
Mr Martin’s comments come as Wetherspoon today reported a pre-tax profit of £50.3million for the six months to January 27.
That’s down 19 per cent compared to the £62million the chain made over the same period last year.
The drop in profits was largely blamed on staff wages.
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Wetherspoons has already scrapped a THIRD of beers and ALL European wines.
But the budget boozer came under fire this week after The Sun found it had hiked food and drink prices for the fifth time in two years.
We also reveal the most expensive Wetherspoon to a buy burger and beer deal – and it’s not in London.
Gin’s so pretty in pinkBy Tracey Boles, Business EditorWETHERSPOON pubs are turning into unlikely pink gin palaces.
The traditional variety of the iconic drink from Gordon’s has been overtaken by a new berry-flavoured version.
Tim Martin, Wetherspoons founder and chairman, has revealed that sales of pink gin, which was introduced by Gordon’s with a 1880 recipe just two years ago, have now overtaken in his pubs the spending on the original drink. Both are made by Diageo, which is UK-based but the world’s largest producer of spiritsMartin, 63, said: “There is a fashion element involved, especially with what young people drink.”
Sales of all spirits across the pub trade are up 20 per cent year on year, he added.
And Brexit-backing Martin also revealed that sales of a British version of Jagermeister, a liqueur called Strika, were good.
The firm has ditched the German drink in the run-up to Britain leaving the EU.
It has also been carrying out taste tests on Australian brandy, with Martin saying it was “going down well”.
One fan posted on Twitter: “Pink gin makes me feel like a butterfly.”
Another said: “How can anyone do dry January when pink gin tastes so good?”
Wetherspoon’s now serves glittery pink unicorn gin
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