JD WETHERSPOON boss Tim Martin has criticised the chairman of Sainsbury’s for claiming a deal with the European Union is needed to avoid higher food costs, while warning his company expects to costs to rise further this year.

Mr Martin focused once more on Brexit as Wetherspoon reported a bright start to its current financial year, with like for like sales up 6.1 per cent for the 13 weeks to October 29. He accused some senior company directors and business groups of making remarks on Brexit “which are factually incorrect and highly misleading”.

Mr Martin attacked comments by Sainsbury’s chairman David Tyler in a newspaper article suggesting failure to conclude a deal with the European Union would cause food prices to rise. “In fact, that is completely untrue,” Mr Martin said. “The lowest food prices can be obtained by the UK, without the need for the agreement or consent of any third party, by avoiding a “transitional deal”, which would keep EU tariffs in place, and leaving the EU in March 2019.

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“This would enable the UK to scrap EU food tariffs, as permitted under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, on food imported from outside the EU. Under WTO rules, tariffs would not hen be charged on imports from the EU either.”

Meanwhile, Mr Martin said he expects further rises in the cost of labour, business rates, utilities and the forthcoming sugar tax.