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Wetherspoon calls for “sensible” UK rules as pub losses mount

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The head of British pub operator J D Wetherspoon warned on Friday of the threat posed to his industry and the wider economy from measures to try to contain the coronavirus, after the company sank to an annual loss.

Announcing a further 108 job cuts, this time at the company’s head office, Wetherspoon said its pretax profit had sunk from 102 million pounds in the financial year ending July 2019 to a 34 million pound loss in the year to July 26.

The statement follows Marston’s announcement of up to 2,150 job losses earlier this week, and warnings from pub bosses across northern England that the latest round of restrictions will wipe out their businesses.

“The company and the entire hospitality industry need a more sensible and consistent regulatory framework in which to operate,” said Chairman Tim Martin, who has been an outspoken opponent of coronavirus restrictions for much of this year.

“The current environment of lockdowns, curfews and constantly changing regulations and announcements threatens not only pub companies, but the entire economy,” he added.

Wetherspoon employed around 43,000 people at the end of its last financial year and had already said it would cut up to 130 jobs at its head office and 400 to 450 employees at airport concessions.

Shares in the company, which have already sunk this year, were expected to fall another 3% at opening.

($1 = 0.7755 pounds) 

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