EU Referendum

Recession fears over Brexit vote

By Mike Berry & Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Oakman inns, United kingdom

Recession fears over Brexit vote
Licensees have expressed concern about the impact of Brexit on their pubs as senior trade figures called on the government to act quickly to reassure businesses and consumers.

With the UK voting to leave the European Union (EU), many operators contacted by the Publican’s Morning Advertiser (​PMA) felt the vote would have a negative impact on trade as people were likely to spend less because of ongoing economic uncertainty.

Commentators have suggested the Brexit vote could push the UK economy into another recession, with questions remaining about the long-term impact on the labour market because of the trade’s reliance on European workers.

Recession

Rodda Thomas, licensee of the Crown and Sceptre in Stroud, Gloucestershire, held a party before the referendum to drum up support for the ‘Remain' camp.

Following the Brexit result, he said: “I am not particularly surprised about it but I am feeling pessimistic now.

“This is going to put the UK into a recession, which will mean losing money but we are just going to have to wait and see.”

Gordon Reid from the Queen’s Arms in Corton Denham, Dorset called the day the result was announced “Black Friday.”

He said: “Costs are definitely going to go up in the future and customers will not go out and spend money because of the uncertainty. This means more businesses are going to go under and the margins are small as it is, there’s only so much you can do.”

Reid added that he expected struggles with staff shortages to get worse. “I can’t get British people in to do the job, I can’t get a British chef because we do not grow our own,” he added.

Kevin Abbott of the Anchor in Wingham, Kent, said he was really upset about the outcome. “It is going to have a really massive knock on our industry. You are going to have people with a lot less money in their pockets and we will go into another recession.

“Our trade relies on people having money in their pockets and I think that having just recovered from probably the worst recession the trade has ever seen, we were going in the right direction and I think this is going to make the industry turn in the wrong direction again,” he said.

Disappointed

Peter Borg-Neal, chief executive of 14-strong Oakman Inns, said: “I am obviously disappointed with the result and I believe that the wrong choice has been made.

“However, let me make it clear that this result will in no way change our ambitions for Oakman Inns. We remain determined to grow our business and to continue to be recognised as the one of the best pub companies in the UK. I’m particularly proud of the fact that an Oakman Inns is a proper British pub that offers the best of Europe – in terms of food, drink and people and that will remain our strategy going forward.”

However, Janet Dooner of the Railway Tavern in Stratford, east London, said she was pleased with the result.

“I still think in my heart I have done the right thing but I do not think in my lifetime I will see the result of it.”

Brexit

And leading Brexit campaigner Tim Martin, chairman of JD Wetherspoon, added: “The UK will thrive as an independent country, making its own laws, and we will work with our good friends and neighbours in Europe and elsewhere to ensure a positive outcome for all parties.”

A poll conducted by the PMA ​before last week’s referendum found 59% of pub sector professionals were in favour of leaving the EU.

Related topics: Legislation

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