Tim Martin: Government ‘often relies on false information rather than truth’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Group meeting: JDW boss Tim Martin will outline his opinion of the Government and the implementation of lockdowns at the company AGM later today
Group meeting: JDW boss Tim Martin will outline his opinion of the Government and the implementation of lockdowns at the company AGM later today

Related tags Jd wetherspoon Tim martin lockdown Government

JD Wetherspoon (JDW) boss Tim Martin will accuse the Government of “relying on false information” in its handling the coronavirus pandemic.

At the company’s AGM today (Thursday 17 December), Martin will outline how more than 50m pub visits had been registered across JDW’s estate and have had no outbreaks reported to the company.

Martin will say: “2020 has been an extraordinarily difficult year for many businesses.

“As the famous investor Ray Dalio has said, ‘truth is the essential foundation for good outcomes’. Yet the Government has relied on information that has often turned out to be untrue.

“For example, Imperial College research in March, which precipitated a lockdown in more than 100 countries, including the first major pub closure in history in the UK, was deeply flawed.

“Indeed lockdowns, the core of the UK’s current strategy, have been shown by many studies to be ineffective, and often counterproductive.”

Martin went on to point to David Nabarro from the World Health Organisation, who emphasised their “destructive effects”, particularly for the “least well off”.

Wildly inaccurate

Martin also plans to highlight Sweden’s mortality rate from all causes in 2020 is the same as for four of the past five years.

The JDW boss will add: “In October, the prediction of [chief scientific adviser] Patrick Vallance, of 4,000 deaths per day, which the Government instigated a second lockdown, proved to be wildly inaccurate.

“It seems certain the biggest flaw in these predictions has been an overestimation of the fatality rate of Covid-19.

“John Ioannidis, often regarded as the foremost expert in the area, has estimated that Covid-19 has half the fatality rate of flu for those under 70 - although this estimate is disputed in some quarters.

“Professors Johan Giesecke, Carl Heneghan, Sunetra Gupta and hundreds of others have also criticised Imperial, SAGE and government policies, as have many health professionals.”

He will outline how the predictions that have turned out to be true in 2020 relate to the effects of lockdowns and Government actions on the economy and health.

More than 800,000 jobs have been lost so far, approximately equivalent to the combined working populations of the cities of Manchester and Birmingham, Martin will say before estimating these job losses will rise sharply in the coming months, without a radical change in Government policy.

Dire situation

He will add: “Screenings and treatments for many serious illnesses have been drastically reduced, as, for example, the charity Macmillan recently reported.

“The situation for pubs is dire. All pubs in the UK (as at 16 December), apart from a handful in remote areas, are effectively shut.

“Less than half are able to open as restaurants, only serving alcoholic drinks with a meal - but that is not what pubs were designed for, and is not usually profitable.

He will criticise the Government, claiming it often relies on “false information, rather than truth, its outcomes will inevitably be poor”.

Martin will add: “The sources of Government information, especially SAGE, in which academics predominate, have often been faulty.

“Due to the conscientious efforts of its employees, bankers and shareholders, and to the loyalty of millions of customers, JDW may be in a better position than some companies and individuals.

“However, 70% of our premises are shut today, despite expenditure of many millions in compliance with health regulations. In addition, over 50m pub visits have been registered, using the track and trace system, and there have been no outbreaks of the virus reported to the company.”

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