Wetherspoon chief scorns pro-EU camp 'gloom' as profits rise 12.5% to £66m
The Brexit-backing chairman of JD Wetherspoon has once again launched an invective against prominent backers of the Remain campaign, pouring scorn on their "gloomy economic forecasts" as the firm notched up solid sales and profits.
Tim Martin called out the CBI, the IMF, the OECD, the Treasury and former chancellor George Osborne - among others - for failing to "see through the flaws" of the EU, and said their economic forecasts "have been proven to be false".
"As in the case of the euro, the general public has a much better perception about this overriding factor than the consensus of intellectual opinion," he said.
He also suggested that the UK does not need a trade deal with the EU, adding: "Common sense ... suggests that the worst approach for the UK is to insist on the necessity of a 'deal' - we don't need one and the fact that EU countries sell us twice as much as we sell them creates a hugely powerful negotiating position. If WTO tariffs apply, the UK will receive twice as much as it pays."
The prominent Leave backer made the comments alongside full-year results for the pub chain, which saw pre-tax profits rise 12.5% to £66 million after exceptional items. Revenues rose 5.4% to £1.6 billion and like-for-like sales grew 3.4% over the year to July.
Mr Martin said: "I am pleased to report a year of progress for the company, with record sales, profit and earnings per share before exceptional items.
"Since the year end, Wetherspoon's sales have continued to be encouraging and increased by 4.1%."
However, he added that it remains to be seen whether this will continue over the remainder of the year, given a low-inflation environment.