A spokesperson for chairman Tim Martin told BigHospitality that “voters should be given as much information as possible” and that it is good “that people are engaged on the subject”. He rejected the suggestion that a British split from the EU would “cause any issues for the industry, including pubs and the hospitality industry”, and said a split would instead be about the “UK deciding for itself”.
The statement comes as the group released 200,000 bright red beer mats across 920 JD Wetherspoon pubs nationwide, with a design featuring the slogan “Vote ‘Leave’ – take back control”, and an open letter from Martin to Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), taking issue with some of the IMF’s recent policies within Europe.
Martin has historically been an outspoken supporter of leaving the EU, with the issue hotly contested within the wider industry. A recent survey from William Reed/HIM found that 38% of the foodservice sector polled said that Brexit would be a ‘good thing’ for their business, versus 28% who said it would be a ‘bad thing’.
And, despite previous worries that a split could impact hospitality recruitment, 65% said that their business’s labour force would be unaffected. However, concerns still remained over the possible impact a split could have on food and drinks prices.
The public referendum on whether Britain should stay in the EU takes place on 23 June.