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Tim Martin on the UK economy

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We asked JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin for his take on what's going on with the British economy and what he thinks the solution is. [Originally broadcast Jul 17th, 2008.]

I've been in the pub business for nearly 30 years.

Twice in that time, I've seen a recession: in the early 1980s and in the early 1990s.

I'm afraid to say, it looks very much like we're here again. But this time, a large part of the responsibility has got to be Gordon Brown's.

Shackled by regulation

We've had 15 years of growth and a boom for the last few years. House prices are now going to have to fall, and they are falling.

Jobs are going to be lost; it's going to be painful, and the only mechanism for getting us out of this is business.

But the problem is that business has been shackled by regulation and taxes - by Gordon.

Exacerbating the problem

For example, 10m of extra excise duty this financial year for JD Wetherspoon and another 10m worth of new labour regulations.

What's that going to do? It's going to have pubs throughout the land putting up their prices.

And what's that going to do? It's going to cause inflation.

And what's that going to do? It's going to result in interest rates going up, exacerbating the problem.

Grab yourself a pint

But there is a way out of this, Gordon - if you listen to me.

First of all, you've got to stop raising new taxes.

Secondly, you've got to stop all new regulations for a while.

Just leave us alone for a few years, and the resourceful people of this country and the resourceful businesses will sort it all out.

Go down the pub, grab yourself a pint, and relax.


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