Tim Martin is blaming ‘people drinking at home’ for UK Wetherspoons closures Georgina Pellant
It’s no secret that times are hard for hospitality right now, with pubs and restaurants shutting left, right and centre – but when UK pub giant Wetherspoons starts closing its doors you have to wonder if anyone can survive in this climate.
In September last year, the budget pub chain began listing sites for sale with 32 boozers going up as part of what it described as a “commercial decision”.
Now, it has listed even more – and arch-Brexiteer Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin is apparently blaming people ‘drinking at home’ for the closures.
After the chain suffered a £30 million pound loss, CEO Tim Martin told PA news agency that people ‘have got into the habit of staying in’ ever since Covid and that that was why sales were down on 2019.
He also blamed lockdown restrictions brought in to stop the spread of Covid during the heigh of the pandemic for the pub’s losses,
He said: “The aftermath of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions have been far more difficult than anyone thought.
“That is the picture for the whole pub and restaurant industry. People thought that after lockdown there would be a boom in people suffering from cabin fever but, instead, it has almost become the opposite situation as people have got into the habit of staying in.
“That’s the big thing that means sales are down on 2019. Things are improving now but it’s slow.”
The pub sales are being handled by CBRE and Savills. Toby Hall, senior director at CBRE, said: “The excellent mix of locations in this portfolio is rarely seen in the market.
“With more than half the portfolio located in London and the South East and other strong locations in the South West, Midlands and North we believe the pubs represent an excellent opportunity for existing pub operators and new entrants.”
Which JD Wetherspoon pubs are set for closure?
Pubs which have been sold:
- Harvest Moon, Orpington
- Alexander Bain, Wick
- Chapel an Gansblydhen, Bodmin
- Moon on the Square, Basildon
- Coal Orchard, Taunton
- Running Horse, Airside Doncaster Airport
- Wild Rose, Bootle
- Edmund Halley, Lee Green
- The Willow Grove, Southport
- Postal Order, Worcester
- North and South Wales Bank, Wrexham
Pubs still up for sale:
- The Butlers Bell, Stafford
- Worlds Inn, Romford
- Silkstone Inn, Barnsley
- Wrong ‘Un, Bexleyheath
- The Percy Shaw, Halifax
- Jolly Sailor, Hanham
- The Alfred Herring, Palmers Green
- The Moon & Bell, Loughborough
- The Widow Frost, Mansfield
- Resolution, Middlesbrough
- Foxley Hatch, Purley
- The Rising Sun, Redditch
- Sennockian, Sevenoaks
- Admiral Sir Lucius Curtis, Southampton
- The Colombia Press, Watford
- The Malthouse, Willenhall
- The John Masefield, New Ferry
- The Crosse Keys, Peebles
- Lord Arthur Lee, Fareham
- The Saltoun Inn, Fraserburgh
- General Sir Redvers Buller, Crediton
- Plough & Harrow, Hammersmith
- Thomas Leaper, Derby
- Cliftonville, Hove
- Tollgate, Turnpike Lane
- Asparagus, Battersea
- Millers Well, East Ham
- Hudson Bay, Forest Gate
- Angel, Islington
- The Billiard Hall, West Bromwich
- Capitol, Forest Hill
- The Bankers Draft, Eltham
- Moon on the Hill, Harrow
- The Bank House, Cheltenham
- Last Post, Loughton
Government refuses to deny reports HS2 may not run from Manchester to central London Emily Sergeant
The Sun reported this week that HS2 is currently in “shambles” and that rising inflation and construction costs could mean that trains may terminate in the suburbs of west London instead of London Euston, as has always been planned – with the paper saying transport bosses were considering pushing back the service’s Euston terminus to 2038, or even scrapping it all together.
The paper reported that trains would be instead stopping at a new hub at Old Oak Common in west London’s suburbs, which is about 8km (five miles) away from Euston.
Passengers would then have to finish their journeys into central London by using the Elizabeth Line.
On top of all of this, the paper also reported that anywhere between a two to five-year delay to the entire project is also being considered by the government, however ministers are refusing to confirm or deny any of the reports.
A statement provided by a Department for Transport (DfT) spokesperson reads: “The Government remains committed to delivering HS2 to Manchester, as confirmed in the autumn statement, and as well as supporting tens of thousands of jobs, the project will connect regions across the UK, improve capacity on our railways and provide a greener option of travel.”
HS2, which has the full name High Speed 2, was originally intended to connect London with Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds.
The leg to Leeds has since been scrapped in November 2021, but work on the first phase of the project between London and Birmingham is now well under way, with a part of the line due to open by 2033, despite the fact the project has faced delays and mounting concerns over the exact route, and its potential environmental impact.
While a budget of £55.7 billion for the whole of HS2 was set in 2015, this was made before the Leeds leg was cancelled, and the estimated cost of HS2 was therefore set between £72 billion and £98 billion at 2019 prices.
A report published last October found it was unlikely that the £40.3 billion target for the first section of the line would be met.
- Local leaders say wrong HS2 solution for Manchester could ‘damage’ the north
- Avanti West Coast told to release train tickets earlier or face ‘formal measures’
- Manchester rapper Aitch launches free train travel scheme for under-25s
A senior figure at the DfT warned last week that ” tough decisions” could lie ahead for the scheme.
Featured Image – HS2 (via gov.uk)