Wetherspoons pays £1 in every £1000 of government tax
WARREN Buffett is one of the few business people who likes to brag about how much tax his enterprises pay, and to say he expects the bill to go upwards. (Others tend to see the tax code as an exercise in what you can get away with.)
Tim Martin at JD Wetherspoon may not regard paying tax as a corporate pleasure, but he does point out that the pubs are more than pulling their weight.
In 2019, the year before the pandemic, the business paid tax of £764 million. That is one pound in every thousand of UK government revenue.
Which means, as Buffett would say, that if just another 999 taxpayers stumped up, the rest of us wouldn’t have to pay a penny. Zilch.
In the last ten years, the company, its staff and customers have paid tax of £5.6 billion.
Looked at in that context, ‘Spoons is something of a national treasure. You don’t have to like the cut of Tim Martin’s jib or indeed the pubs to think so. If his views on Brexit bother you, don’t go.
Moreover, after three dry pandemic years, staff bonuses are back. In the first half of the year bonuses and shares worth £15 million were handed out.
This is just as John Lewis, supposedly the model for doing the right thing, was forced to slash its staff bonus to zero.
Perhaps the government should do an annual league table of the most useful businesses in Britain. They could add points for tax paid, subtract some for environmental impact, make a guess on staff wellbeing.
Wetherspoons would be far higher up that league than its critics might expect.