'It's pathetic to want certainty!' - Wetherspoon's boss hits out at UK businesses

PUBLISHED: 14:12 18 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:51 18 December 2018

JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin speaks at a Leave Means Leave rally. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA.

JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin speaks at a Leave Means Leave rally. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Pub chain boss Tim Martin has hit out at businesses demanding "certainty" in turbulent times - despite the fact his own business has been rocked by declining share prices.

The Wetherspoon’s boss said that businesses can “thrive from uncertainty” and that it would be “pathetic” to demand assurances from the government.

He told the BBC’s Politics Live: “Well I think as the saying goes, if you want certainty you’ve got death and taxes. So businesses surely are built to thrive from uncertainty, and most businesses which have done well have taken advantage of it.

“I do think it’s slightly pathetic to say ‘give me certainty’.”

Eyebrows are likely to be raised at his own company’s headquarters - where shares in his business have been falling in part due to his employees’ demands for better pay.

JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin speaks at a Leave Means Leave rally. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA.JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin speaks at a Leave Means Leave rally. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA.

In a statement last month, he said: “It is difficult to be too precise at this early stage of the current financial year but we now expect a trading outcome slightly below that achieved in the previous financial year.”

MORE: Pub propaganda is leaving a bitter taste

This, however, didn’t stop him gloating in a separate interview that Jean-Claude Juncker risked “losing his money” over a no deal Brexit.

He told the Express: “It is a good deal for us because we save £39billion which we would otherwise have to pay you, Jean-Claude Juncker.

“We also regain control of our fishing, so that is really good for our coastal communities, good for national morale, good for the overall economy.

“We can also eliminate the tariffs... at the moment the UK collects those tariffs and sends them to Brussels so Jean-Claude, I would say, you are going to lose your tariff money.”

MORE: Wetherspoon’s boss booed on BBC’s Question Time

Martin added that “we are going to be more democratic” before, without a hint of irony, calling for Theresa May to go. That is despite her winning a vote of confidence days before from Conservative MPs.

He said: “The deal she has come back with is extremely poor. She is not a natural winner, that is her big problem.”

Martin’s outburst follows Iain Duncan Smith’s claims that jobs would not go because of Brexit, and that any consequences of a no deal were “short-term”.

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