Wetherspoon has today (Wednesday November 1) placed 500,000 beer mats in its pubs with a hard-hitting message on Brexit to parliament.
The beer mats will be available in each of the company’s 895 pubs in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The message calls on Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Vince Cable and MPs to stop messing about and endorse Wetherspoon’s three point manifesto.
It states that the UK should unilaterally grant rights of citizenship to legal EU immigrants.
Additionally, it points to the fact that the EU currently charges taxes on food imported from outside the EU, and that from 2019 the government can and should eliminate these import taxes- which will also mean that EU food imports will continue to be tax-free.
Wetherspoon argues that this will result in a reduction in food prices in shops and pubs.
The manifesto also says that from March 2019 the government should stop paying the EU £200 million per week, stressing that the money disappears into EU coffers which have not been audited properly since 1994.
Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin, said: “There has been a coordinated campaign to dupe the public. For example, David Tyler, the chairman of Sainsbury’s, recently told the Sunday Times that imported food prices could rise by 22% without a ‘deal’ with the EU. This is highly misleading. Parliament has the power to reduce food prices at a stroke in March 2019.
“The EU imposes huge taxes on food imports from the rest of the world. World Trade Organisation rules, contrary to the urban myth, allow the U.K. to follow free trade champions like New Zealand, Australia and Singapore, which have drastically reduced or eliminated these taxes.
"Wetherspoon calculates that it will save an average of 3.5 pence per meal and 0.5 pence per drink if we leave the EU and abolish food import taxes in March 2019 - similar savings are likely to be made on meals consumed inside or outside the home in the UK . These savings will be lost in a 'transitional deal', since tariffs on non-EU food will still apply. There is absolutely no doubt that food prices will be cheaper without a deal, if the UK chooses the free trade option.
“The public, press and MPs have been led to believe by Tyler, the CBI, and other organisations that food prices will inevitably rise if we leave the EU without a deal. It’s important to provide the public with the truth, so that they are able to decide for themselves.”
Examples of articles which state or imply that food prices will rise after Brexit.
1. Article in The Sunday Times, October 15 2017 by Tommy Stubbington
Sainsbury’s boss David Tyler warns a ‘no deal’ Brexit would raise the cost of shopping
Families will have to pay more for their weekly shop if Britain leaves the EU without a trade deal, the chairman of Sainsbury’s has warned.
David Tyler said customs delays and tariffs would add to the costs facing shoppers. His warning comes after Theresa May said she was making plans for a “no deal” Brexit, which would see Britain trading with the EU under World Trade Organisation rules.
“If we don’t get a deal and we move to WTO rules, we could face an average tariff of 22% on foodstuffs we import from Europe,” Tyler said.
Under current customs arrangements, a lorry leaving Italy early in the morning would be able to deliver to Sainsbury’s in time for the food to be on shelves the following day.
“There is considerable worry about wastage,” he said, warning that trucks could face delays leaving French ports and again on reaching Britain.
Hauliers have warned that delays in cross-Channel trade could place Britain’s supply chain under pressure, potentially leaving supermarkets short of food and manufacturers without vital components.
“The resilience of the supply chain is about one week,” said James Hookham of the Freight Transport Association.
2. Extract from the Guardian editorial, Friday 7 July 2017
‘…….A deal is better than no deal. No deal would mean a reversion to WTO rules on trade between the EU and the UK. Among other things, it would mean, as Mr Barnier points out, that there would be customs duties of almost 10% on vehicle imports, of 19% on drinks, and an average of 12% on meat and fish. These would be hugely disruptive shocks with major economic and social repercussions. Those repercussions would likely be worse for Britain than the EU. Mrs May would be crazy to take the economic and political risks. But that is where she is still heading.’
3. Article from Business Insider 10 July 2017 by Oscar Williams-Grut
Ex-Sainsbury's CEO: Brexit means 'higher prices, less choice, and poorer quality' at supermarkets
(Justin) King, who was in charge of Sainsbury's for a decade until 2014, told BBC's Panorama programme: "One can say very clearly what the direction will be: higher prices, less choice, and poorer quality, because all of those dimensions have been improved by these open trading relationships that we've had over the last 40 years.
"Brexit, almost in whatever version it is, will introduce friction, it will introduce barriers. That makes it less efficient, which means all three of those benefits — price, quality, and choice — go backwards."
4. Extract from article in The Independent 10 October 2016 by Zlata Rodionova
…..The BRC said that without reaching the right agreement with the EU by 2019, the UK could be forced to use World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
Under WTO rules, tariffs on food and clothing could rise sharply, with meat increasing by 27 per cent and clothing and footwear up to 16 per cent.
5. Article in the FT October 17, 2016
by Henry Mance, Political Correspondent
Clegg warns ‘hard Brexit’ will lead to 22% EU food tariffs
Britain will face average tariffs of 22 per cent on its food imports from the EU, unless it remains within the single market or strikes a bilateral trade deal following Brexit, the former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has warned……
…….“It’s clear that Marmite was just the tip of the iceberg,” said Mr Clegg, a former EU trade negotiator. “A hard Brexit will lead us off a cliff edge towards higher food prices, with a triple whammy of punishing tariffs, customs checks and workforce shortages.”
6. Article in The Evening Standard 10.10.16, by Joe Murphy
Hard Brexit will increase our prices, retailers warn government
The British Retail Consortium said goods from clothes and wine to meat would become more expensive unless Theresa May strikes a deal with the other 27 EU countries…….’
In a letter to International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, the retailers said failure to reach a trade deal with Brussels would see tariffs of 12 per cent slapped on clothes from Bangladesh and up to 27 per cent on meat.
Chilean wine would be hit by a 14 per cent levy, although New Zealand lamb could become cheaper
Chairman Richard Baker said stores would struggle to absorb the tariffs themselves, meaning higher prices for consumers. “The retail industry is the UK’s biggest importer,” he wrote…..
‘……Carolyn Fairbairn, head of the CBI, said a hard Brexit risked “closing the door” on Britain’s traditionally open economy.’