Statement re Press Comment - ReplacementSource: RNS
A non material typographical change has been made to the Statement re Press Comment announcement released on 02/06/2021 at 12:24 p.m. under RNS No 6092A.
The changes are identified with an asterisk (*).
The full amended text is shown below.
WETHERSPOON (J.D.) PLC
Released 2nd June 2021
JD WETHERSPOON PLC
NEWS RELEASE - CORRECTION
"The Telegraph newspaper published an article online yesterday ("Wetherspoons boss calls for more EU migration as bars and restaurants tackle staff shortage" - 1 June 2021), which misrepresented Wetherspoon's position.
The Telegraph journalist contacted Tim Martin, the Wetherspoon chairman, and requested comments regarding reports of staff shortages in the hospitality industry generally.
Following the press query, Mr Martin personally made enquiries within the company and, in subsequent texts to the journalist, said "anecdotal feedback from … pubs since reopening [is that there are] lots of people applying generally."
Mr Martin's texts also said that for a "new pub opening last week (in a town in North Yorkshire), for example, [there were] 160 applications for 70 jobs."
Mr Martin's texts added that "there were 20 applications for four vacancies" in a Bedfordshire pub and there was "a good volume of applications for vacancies in Bletchley and Milton Keynes".
Mr Martin concluded that it was "a reasonably good position for JDW in the country" and that "recruitment is more challenging in some seaside towns- but that's no different to what we experience in any year."
The anecdotal evidence provided by Mr Martin was not reported by the journalist, who instead said that "British pubs and restaurants struggle to recruit staff in the post-pandemic labour market squeeze".
The journalist also said "pub and restaurant bosses warned they were being forced to shut sites during the crucial lunchtime trade due to a shortage of workers", which the article implied was a problem for Wetherspoon- and which is clearly not true from the evidence provided by Mr Martin to the journalist.
The article also said that Mr Martin "urged Boris Johnson to introduce a visa scheme for EU workers".
In fact, Mr Martin has had no contact whatsoever with Mr Johnson since he became Prime Minister.
Mr Martin, as with many Brexit supporters, has, however, supported an Australia-style immigration points system, with the possibility of preferential visas for countries in close proximity to the UK, as Australia operates with New Zealand, for example (See, for example, Mr Martin's evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee on 8th March 2017 - Appendix 1 below).
Tim Martin said:
"I was trying to be helpful to the journalist by providing up-to-date anecdotal information on staffing, which clearly demonstrated a very positive situation for Wetherspoon.
"However, my comments were misreported. The false story, expressed in the headline "Wetherspoons boss calls for more EU migration as bars and restaurants tackle staff shortage" and expressed or implied elsewhere in the article, was that Wetherspoon was suffering staff shortages, which clearly isn't true, and that I had subsequently been moved to change my stance on immigration, which, as my evidence to parliament several *years ago clearly shows, isn't true either."
Tim Martin's evidence to the House of Lords' Economic Affairs Committee (published 21 July 2017)
Members present: Lord Hollick (The Chairman); Lord Burns; Lord Darling of
Roulanish; Lord Forsyth of Drumlean; Lord Kerr of Kinlochard; Lord Lamont of
Lerwick; Lord Layard; Lord Sharkey; Lord Tugendhat; Baroness Wheatcroft.
The Chairman: Given the expected end of free movement of people
between the UK and EU, what would you like to see replacing it that
would control immigration?
Mr Tim Martin: At the risk of incurring the wrath of Lord Darling, I think
the referendum was about democracy. You touched on the issue earlier.
Looking round the world, New Zealanders can work in Australia; the Irish
could work here and we could work there long before the EU. There is an
argument based on pragmatism and proximity. EU workers have been
allowed to come and work here in the past, and there is a case for them
being able to do so in the future on some preferential basis, partly on
grounds of pragmatism. The reason it would be very difficult to do the
same thing for India or China is that they have 2.5 billion people between
them and you just cannot open your borders to them on a pragmatic
basis; but on a preferential work permit basis, and with the historical
links with Ireland, which will continue, you can do something for EU
The Chairman: Do you see the Government playing a role in saying that
the hospitality industry, or even the pub sector of it, can have so many
people, or would you allow the market to decide that?
Mr Tim Martin: I do not know the answer to that, but for the UK to be a
successful country and economy in the next 20, 30 or 50 years we need a
gradually rising population, and that will need some type of reasonably
controlled immigration. If we do not get it, the economy will tend to go
backwards. We need a North American or Australian-type system.
John Hutson Chief Executive Officer 01923 477777
Ben Whitley Finance Director 01923 477777
Eddie Gershon Company spokesman 07956 392234
Please email any questions to email@example.com
Notes to editors
1. J D Wetherspoon owns and operates pubs throughout the UK and Ireland. The Company aims to provide customers with good-quality food and drink, served by well-trained and friendly staff, at reasonable prices. The pubs are individually designed, and the Company aims to maintain them in excellent condition.
2. Visit our website: www.jdwetherspoon.com
3. This announcement has been prepared solely to provide additional information to the shareholders of J D Wetherspoon, to meet the requirements of the FCA's Disclosure and Transparency Rules. It should not be relied on by any other party, for any other purposes. Forward-looking statements have been made by the directors in good faith, using information available up until the date on which they approved this statement. Forward-looking statements should be regarded with caution, because of the inherent uncertainties in economic trends and business risks.
4. This announcement contains inside information on J D Wetherspoon plc.
5. The current financial year comprises 52 trading weeks to 25 July 2021.
6. The next trading update is expected to be the Company's pre-close announcement on 7th July 2021.