The Londonderry-raised chairman of the pub giant JD Wetherspoon says proposals to hike the minimum wage will result in high street pubs moving to retail parks.
Tim Martin declined, however, to say whether the impending wage increase would mean bars such as The Diamond and the Ice Wharf in Londonderry would respond by raising their cheaper-than-the-norm drink prices.
“It was a bolt from the blue. There was quite a lot of vanity in that Budget. I think old George [Osborne] may be turning into a bit of a gunslinger. “He is walking into town all guns blazing and all the residents are hiding behind the shopfronts.
“It was quite egotistical for him to personally intervene and override the Low Pay Commission.
“My initial impression is it will mean a movement of pubs to the retail parks and shopping centres and increase the pressure on the high street in many places,” he said.