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Wetherspoon (JD) PLC (JDW)

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Tuesday 17 March, 2020

Wetherspoon (JD) PLC

Holding Announcement

RNS Number : 4380G
Wetherspoon (JD) PLC
17 March 2020

17 March 2020




Holding Announcement




Wetherspoon notes the comments of Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday.


Wetherspoon chairman, Tim Martin, said:


"I believe the government will make a tactical error in resorting to de facto "lockdown".


"The Dutch position (see appendix 1 below) of frankly admitting that most people will get the virus, while protecting the elderly and sick, thereby building up group immunity, is the best path for the UK.


"As scientists have said (see appendix 2 below) lockdown for twelve weeks results in a further breakout of infections in July.


"The difference in keeping the hospitality industry open, even with reduced sales, is colossal (see appendix 3). The industry contributes £120 billion a year of tax and six million jobs. Wetherspoon alone contributes £2m a DAY of tax (see appendix 4).


"Lockdown delays the inevitable and destroys the tax base at the same time, which will cripple the NHS and the economy.


"The Prime Minister should show Dutch courage and follow the example of their PM Mark Rutte - and avoid taking French leave of his senses by following the lockdown example of perfidious Emmanuel Macron.


"The Dutch approach has the additional advantage of being in tune with the robust instincts of the nation. This is evidenced by Wetherspoon sales which have been positive in the last few weeks in spite of storms and health scares.


"The Board continues to plan partially mitigating actions. The Company will announce its interim results on 20 March 2020, when a further update will be provided."





Appendix 1 - The Dutch Approach, The Telegraph, 16 March 2020


"Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned in a televised address to the nation that most residents would get coronavirus, but he ruled out a full lockdown like other European countries.


"Rutte says his government wants to build "group immunity" while waiting for a vaccine, by letting the least vulnerable people catch the virus while protecting the elderly and sick.


"This could take "months, or even longer", he added."



Appendix 2 - Imperial College Modelling, Prof Azra Ghani, The Telegraph, 16 March 2020


"Prof Azra Ghani added that the modelling suggests that even if the government waited until July to ease new restrictions - more than three months - it could result in cases increasing again.


""We haven't found any way, at least in our understanding of this so far, that we can ever release these [restrictions] unless some other intervention occurs", she said.


"Are we then in a permanent state of outbreak?, she was asked. "That's our current understanding," she said.


"The briefing took place immediately after the Prime Minster spoke. Prof Ghani was joined by Prof Neil Fergusson, who heads the team at Imperial and advises Number Ten."



Appendix 3 - Hospitality Industry Economic Contributions, The Guardian, 16 March 2020


"Britain's hospitality industry contributes more than £120bn a year to the economy and is worth more than the automotive, pharmaceuticals and aeronautics industries combined. More than 3.2 million people work in pubs, restaurants and other outlets, making it the third-largest sector for employment. A further 2.8 million work in the wider supply chain."



Appendix 4 - Contribution to the economy, Extract from JD Wetherspoon 2019 annual report, page 4


"Wetherspoon is proud to pay its share of tax and, in this respect, is a major contributor to the economy. In the year under review, we generated total taxes of £764.4m, an increase of £35.6m, compared with the previous year, which equates to approximately 42% of our sales - and also amounts to approximately one-thousandth of all UK government revenue."


[There is a table, on page 4 of the 2019  JD Wetherspoon annual report, indicating total tax paid by Wetherspoon.]







John Hutson  Chief Executive Officer  01923 477777

Ben Whitley  Finance Director  01923 477777

Eddie Gershon  Company Spokesman  07956 392234





Notes to editors


1.  J D Wetherspoon owns and operates pubs throughout the UK. 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:  


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 26 July 2020.


6.  The next trading update is expected to be the Company's interim results statement on 20 March 2020.



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