UK’S BIGGEST PUB CHAIN WANTS TO LEGALISE 16-YEAR-OLDS

In Global perspective by Clyde Mooney

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As the transformation of Britain’s pub scene continues to see around 30 close each week, the boss of the biggest pub chain has suggested the drinking age should be lowered to 16 years.

J D Wetherspoon operates nearly 1,000 pubs in the UK, with reputations as ‘budget boozers’ that turn over around £1.5billion a year and employ 35,000 staff.

The Group was founded in 1979 by Tim Martin, and is listed on the London Stock Exchange (JDW), market capitalisation of £956.25m.

UK law currently allows minors from the age of 16 have an alcoholic beverage in the pub with a meal, if accompanied by an adult. They cannot be unaccompanied, nor order from the bar.

Martin proclaims furthering this to allow 16 and 17-year-olds into the pub like adults would teach them how to drink sensibly, and reduce the appeal of drinking heavily at home with cheap booze bought from the supermarket.

“Some sort of system that allowed 16-year-olds to have a beer or two in a pub would be good,” he said.

The Wetherspoon chain recently came under criticism for scrapping its traditional Sunday roast, and soon after announcing it would no longer be doing its popular three-course Christmas dinner.

Despite the global trend of hospitality venues offering a greater focus on food, Wetherspoon continues to grow. SDW stock value has climbed 20.09 per cent since the beginning of 2016.

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Tim Martin. Image: Independent.ie