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Corbyn government would ‘crucify’ the economy, says pub group boss

By Holly Williams, PA Deputy City Editor

The boss of pub group Young’s has launched a scathing attack on Jeremy Corbyn, warning a Labour victory in next month’s election would “crucify” the economy.

Patrick Dardis, chief executive of Young’s pubs and breweries, said he was even more fearful of a Labour win under Mr Corbyn than the damaging prospect of a hung Parliament and ongoing uncertainty over Brexit.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Dardis said: “The threat of a Corbyn government is a bigger issue for business than the current uncertainty.

“A period of a Labour government would crucify the economy and it would take decades to recover from it.”

“That’s my concern and it’s as much for my children as it is for me,” he added.

His comments echo what is seen as the view across much of the City, that a government led by Mr Corbyn would be more damaging to UK business than a no-deal Brexit.

The Labour Party has pledged to raise taxes on capital gains, businesses and top earners, among other policies unpopular in the City.

But not all business leaders are as concerned, with Barclays UK chairman Sir Ian Cheshire telling PA earlier this week that British firms would “get on and deal with” whichever government wins the election.

The comments from Mr Dardis come as Young’s cautioned that the impact of Brexit and political uncertainty “cannot be underestimated” in its half-year trading figures.

Mr Dardis said: “We hope that the upcoming General Election will bring an end to the current paralysis at Westminster.

“Its timing at the start of our busiest time of year, just as the Christmas party season kicks into full swing, is far from perfect.”

But Young’s, which has over 260 pubs across London and the south of England, heads into the key trading period with robust pub sales, which have strengthened to 5.1% on a like-for-like basis in the past 13 weeks, boosted in part by the recent Rugby World Cup.

Like-for-like pub sales rose by a more muted 1.1% over the six months to September 30 after a tougher first quarter, but improved in the final three months thanks to better weather.

Underlying interim pre-tax profits lifted 3.4% to £27 million, with costs of recent acquisitions stripped out.

On a statutory basis, interim pre-tax profits fell 6.4% to £24.3 million.