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JD Wetherspoon PLC pro-Brexit boss says comments on need for more EU workers were

Earlier on Wednesday, Tim Martin told the Telegraph the UK should have a “reasonably liberal immigration system”

PLC’s () boss Tim Martin said his comments on the need for a “reasonably liberal immigration system” have been taken out of context.

He told the BBC the publican isn’t facing a shortage of staff because of Brexit.

READ: Wetherspoon’s investment programme could create significant value, says broker

Earlier on Wednesday, the famously pro-Brexit businessman made headlines after telling the Telegraph more EU workers are needed in the hospitality sector.

“The UK has a low birth rate. A reasonably liberal immigration system controlled by those we have elected, as distinct from the EU system, would be a plus for the economy and the country,” he told the paper.

“America, Australia and Singapore have benefited for many decades from this approach. Immigration combined with democracy works.”

However, Martin later told the BBC that Wetherspoons isn’t struggling with staffing, and in fact some venues have been receiving lots of demand from jobseekers.

The comments come as trade body UKHospitality warned of an acute front-of-house staff and chefs shortage as bars and restaurants start reopening.

A survey shared last week suggested a current vacancy rate across the sector of 9%, implying 188,000 workers are needed.

The group said it’s because restrictions are hitting confidence, while Brexit and travel restrictions are playing a big part, as many people who returned to their home countries said the cost of quarantine on return was preventing them from coming back.

The FTSE 250 group has cut 6,000 jobs across its operations and now employs 38,000 people across 871 pubs.

Shares dipped 2% to 1,330.06p on Wednesday at noon.

Read More: JD Wetherspoon PLC pro-Brexit boss says comments on need for more EU workers were

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