Wetherspoon launches beer mat manifesto for Brexit

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Demand for action: JD Wetherspoon has produced a manifesto on beer mats
Demand for action: JD Wetherspoon has produced a manifesto on beer mats

Related tags Food prices International trade

JD Wetherspoon has placed 500,000 beer mats in its 895 pubs, calling for the UK parliament to back its three-point Brexit manifesto.

The message calls on Prime Minister Theresa May, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable and MPs to “stop messing about”.

JD Wetherspoon states that the UK should unilaterally grant rights of citizenship to legal EU immigrants.

Import taxes

Additionally, it points to the fact that the European Union currently charges taxes on food imported from outside the EU, and that from 2019 the Government can and should eliminate these import taxes. This would also mean that EU food imports would continue to be tax-free.

Wetherspoon argues that this will result in a reduction in food prices in shops and pubs.

The manifesto also says that from March 2019, the Government should stop paying the EU £200m per week, stressing that the money disappears into EU coffers that have not been audited properly since 1994. 

Urban myth

“There has been a co-ordinated campaign to dupe the public. For example, David Tyler, the chairman of Sainsbury’s, recently told The Sunday Times​ that imported food prices could rise by 22% without a ‘deal’ with the EU. This is highly misleading. Parliament has the power to reduce food prices at a stroke in March 2019,” said Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin.  

“The EU imposes huge taxes on food imports from the rest of the world. World Trade Organisation rules, contrary to the urban myth, allow the UK to follow free trade champions like New Zealand, Australia and Singapore, which have drastically reduced or eliminated these taxes.”

Average savings

Wetherspoon calculates that it would save an average of 3.5p per meal and 0.5p per drink when the UK leaves the EU and abolishes food import taxes in March 2019.

It said these savings would be lost in a "transitional deal", since tariffs on non-EU food would still apply.

“There is absolutely no doubt that food prices will be cheaper without a deal, if the UK chooses the free trade option,” he said.

Meanwhile, Wetherspoon has revealed it is to close the Gaffers Row, Crewe, Cheshire, in January, and the company has no plans to open another venue in the town.

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