New Wetherspoon beer mat flags 'big business scare story'

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

'Scare story': the new beer mats claim industry leaders have misled the public over Brexit's impact
'Scare story': the new beer mats claim industry leaders have misled the public over Brexit's impact

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JD Wetherspoon has issued a new beer mat highlighting its support of the British fishing industry and accusing business chiefs of misleading the public on soaring food prices after Brexit.

Wetherspoon's new mat – 500,000 of which are to be used in the operator’s 893 UK sites – states that big business has attempted to fool the British public in saying that food prices will rise without a deal with the EU, arguing that the EU imposes high tariffs on non-EU food imports, which keeps prices high.

Three industry leaders: Whitbread chairman Richard Baker, Sainsbury’s chairman David Tyler and CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn are called out on the beer mat as proponents of these false food price claims.

The new mat calls on MPs to eliminate tariffs and reduce food prices by leaving the EU in March 2019, arguing that the UK can save an additional £200m per week in EU contributions.

Beer mat 1

'Economists got it wrong'

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “The CBI, most boardrooms and economists got it wrong over the exchange rate mechanism, the euro and the effect of a 'leave' vote.

“The latest big business scare story is that the U.K. needs a ‘deal’ with the EU to avoid a ‘cliff edge’. Senior business people have repeatedly said that food prices will rise dramatically without one.

“This is the reverse of the truth – parliament can eliminate the tariffs the EU currently charges on food. This will reduce prices by about 3.5 pence per meal, provided the UK avoids a deal and reverts to World Trade Organisation rules.

“These business leaders should be ashamed of their naked attempt to mislead the public.”

Fishing industry 'sold out'

The mat’s reverse has been used to showcase JDW’s support for Fishing for Leave – the official, independent campaign to reclaim UK fisheries and ensure the industry benefits all fishermen and communities.

Fishing for Leave spokesperson Alan Hastings added: “Fishing is one of our nation’s finest natural resources. It was sold out to EU control with such devastating consequences for towns synonymous with fishing.

Beer mat 2

“Brexit gives us a chance to right that wrong and automatically regain control of all UK waters and resources under international law on 29 March 2019 to be like Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

“This would see the UK regain the 60% of its fish that the EU catches in our waters and see fishing communities rejuvenated by a potential £6.3bn windfall.”

It calls on MPs to support British fishermen by voting to leave the EU in March 2019, arguing that the transitional deal delays leaving and allows EU boats to continue catching 60% of the UK’s fish.

The new beer mat, issued on 4 December, follows on from JD Wetherspoon’s release of 500,000 beer mats voicing its three-point Brexit manifesto – as reported by The Morning Advertiser in early November.​ 

Wetherspoon's chairman Tim Martin recently stated that the company was "now ready to leave the EU"​ as it believes there is "almost no preparation required". 

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