Wetherspoon founder challenges Theresa May to dump tariffs after Brexit

Pub operator JD Wetherspoon has launched a poster campaign calling on the Prime Minister to get rid of tariffs after the UK leaves the EU.

The poster is headlined ‘What don’t you like about free trade, Mrs May?’ and will be displayed in 880 Wetherspoon pubs across the country.

Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin said: “There will be a huge gain for business and consumers if the UK copies the free trade approach of countries like Singapore, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Israel, by slashing protectionist EU import taxes (‘tariffs’) on leaving the EU in March next year.

The Wetherspoon's poster
The Wetherspoon's poster

“It is not often that the government can enrich the electorate without losing tax income, however, this is a rare example.

“These invisible tariffs are charged on over 12,000 non-EU products, including rice, oranges, coffee, wine and children’s clothes. The proceeds are collected by the UK taxman and sent to Brussels.

“Ending tariffs will reduce shop and pub prices, improve living standards and will help non-EU suppliers, currently discouraged by tariffs, quotas and the extensive paraphernalia of EU protectionism.”

Mr Martin said some individuals, businesses and business organisations have “mistakenly or misleadingly” repeated the “myth” that food prices will rise without a Brexit deal.

He added: “In fact, the only way prices can rise post Brexit is if parliament votes to impose tariffs.

“The EU will have no say in the matter, provided that the government does not sign away the UK’s rights in a ‘deal’ in the meantime.”