One of the country’s most prominent Brexit-supporting business leaders has revealed a personal “health scare” and announced a pay rise for staff following a recent strike.
Tim Martin, chairman of pub group J D Wetherspoon, said he had undergone an emergency operation for a burst appendix and would stay at home for “several weeks”.
He used the company’s first quarter results to thank NHS staff for their care adding: “As most people understand, an experienced board, as at Wetherspoon, can be a great advantage.
“My recent health scare emphasises this point. The company’s general meeting on 15 November 2018 will be chaired by Liz McMeikan, the company’s senior independent director.”
The results showed first quarter-like-for-like sales rising by 5.5% in the 13 weeks to 28 October.
Wetherspoons also revealed it was raising wages.
The announcement followed a strike by a small number of staff in the hospitality sector, including Wetherspoons, last month.
The chain said it did not, at this stage, anticipate the need to raise prices to account for the increase because it followed “several years of record profits”.
Mr Martin – who has been cutting EU drink products from its bars in favour of British ones – is no stranger to adding Brexit commentary to his financial outlook.
He hit out again at business groups and economists for predictions of doom if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
As Theresa May appears closer to securing an agreement, he applied four tests to measure whether the UK had actually left the bloc or been “hoodwinked”.
These included the questions: “Does the UK still charge protectionist import taxes (tariffs) on non-EU imports and send the proceeds to Brussels?” and “Is the UK still subject to European laws?”