Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin blasts CBI over Brexit

Tim Martin, the pro-Brexit founder of pubs operator JD Wetherspoon, has taken a sideswipe at the CBI's stance that leaving the EU without a trade deal would be dangerous.

Tim Martin, chairman of JD Wetherspoon, accused the CBI of giving 'foolhardy' advice. Picture: Graham Jepson

Martin was speaking as Wetherspoon, whose 70-plus Scottish outlets include The Standing Order in Edinburgh, said like-for-like sales climbed 4 per cent in the third quarter to 23 April, while total sales rose 1.3 per cent.

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He forecast a “slightly improved trading outcome” for this financial year thanks to better-than-expected year-to-date sales, with like-for-like sales up 3.5 per cent and total sales up 1.4 per cent.

However, Martin repeated his warning that the pubs sector remained under pressure from higher staff costs, utility bills, business rates and excise duties.

On Europe, the Wetherspoon chairman said that CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn was dishing out “foolish advice” to the UK government that leaving the EU without a trade deal in place “shouldn’t be plan B, but plan Z”.

Martin said: “It is doubtful if Ms Fairbairn has ever been involved in serious business negotiations herself, since this is the same as a housebuyer saying to a seller, ‘I must have your house at any cost’.

“In this case the buyer will not pay the market price, but will pay the maximum that the seller believes he can afford. It is hard to believe that such foolhardy advice could emanate from a business organisation.”