Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin has called for the government to reopen pubs and restaurants to help improve Britain’s public finances.
Martin said his pub chain contributes £1 in every thousand collected by the Treasury in the year to July 2019 and should be allowed to reopen at the same time as non-essential shops.
He said the pub industry made a significant contribution to the economy with Wetherspoon alone bringing in £10 of tax for every pound of profit it makes.
He said: “In the last 10 years, Wetherspoon has generated £6.1 billion of taxes, something we are very proud of.
“In the financial year to July 2019, before the pandemic, Wetherspoon, its customers and employees generated £764 million of taxes – £1 in every thousand collected by the UK government.
“Many people have correctly pointed out that the three lockdowns of the last year have been a disaster for the hospitality, retail, arts and entertainment industries, but our calculations show that they have been an even bigger disaster for public finances.
“The taxes paid by Wetherspoon are mirrored by thousands of companies which have been annihilated by lockdowns.
“As a result, government finances have been annihilated even more.”
Martin said Wetherspoon registered more than 50 million customer visits via the Test and Trace app without a single outbreak of Covid-19, as defined by the health authorities.
He said this proved pubs and restaurant were Covid-secure environments and should be allowed to reopen.
He added: “Surely it is possible for the hospitality industry to reopen at the same time as non-essential shops, now that a vaccine exists, on the basis of the social distancing and hygiene regulations.
“Unless the industry does reopen on that basis, economic mayhem will inevitably follow.”