Pubs across the country including the popular Wetherspoons and Samuel Smith chains have hiked up prices as they open after more then three months.
Forced to close due to the coronavirus lockdown, punters entering pubs on yesterday were faced with higher prices than expected.
JD Wetherspoon reopened the majority of its 900 pubs on “Super Saturday” but admitted they had been forced to raise prices on beer, spirits and wine as well as the food they serve.
Prices vary around the country and are typically already higher in London, but prices for drinks will increase by 10p while food prices go up by 20p.
The news may anger many customers especially as Wetherspoons received a £48.3m loan secured under the government’s Coronavirus Large Business Interruption scheme (CLBILS) – after the company had taken advantage of the state furlough scheme.
Mr Martin said: “We are extremely pleased that pubs are reopening on July 4 after a long hiatus.
“We are going to discuss the precise Government proposals with our pub managers and staff before we comment further on the details.”
He angered workers and MPs after sending a video message to staff a few days before the official lockdown indicating they would no longer be paid while the company works out details of a “furlough” scheme under which the government will pay 80% of wages.
He hinted they could seek work in Tesco
In September, the pub giant made £102.5m profit – £5m less than the previous year.
Wetherspoons chairman and founder Tim Martin said “tax equality” was needed if pubs and restaurants were to “survive and thrive” in the future.
He told the PA news agency: “Supermarkets pay almost no VAT on food sales and pubs pay 20%.
“Without equality the price gap between pubs and restaurants and supermarkets will continue to grow so that ‘on-trade’ becomes more and more uncompetitive.”
Mr Martin donated £50,000 to Boris Johnson’s General Election campaign.
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