Tim Martin, founder and chairman of pub giant JD Wetherspoon, has admitted that his newly opened pub on the M40 has not gone as well as he had hoped.
“We’re not selling much beer there and although we’re selling a lot of food it’s not as much as we’d hoped,” he said. “Frankly, the controversy it attracted has created something of a social stigma which will take some time to wear off.”
Martin knows what he would like the Chancellor to announce in next week’s Budget but also, more realistically, expects only token help for the beer industry.
“I’d like him to recognise there should be tax equality between pubs and supermarkets on VAT,” said Martin. “What I actually expect is, he’ll ignore that because it’s too complicated but he’ll keep excise duty on beer flat because he wants the support of the lounge bar over the next 18 months.”
Wetherspoon’s profits rose 8.5 per cent to £37.8 million in the six months to end-January on revenues up 9.1 per cent.
Sales from pubs open for at least a year rose 5.2 per cent and are up 6.7 per cent over the past six weeks