Angela Hartnett (The Caterer, 19 February) says that her east London neighbourhood has "great Japanese, great Indian and great fish and chips" and that "companies like Wetherspoon destroyed" that sort of community. However, Ms Hartnett should consider a number of points before criticising Wetherspoon.
Wetherspoon paid £764m of taxes in 2019, one pound in every thousand collected by the government and a major community contribution.
Wetherspoon employs 37,516 people, 15,032 of whom own shares in the company, and has won many awards for training and staff development.
In the past 15 years, Wetherspoon has awarded bonuses and free shares costing £428m to staff, a sum equivalent to 55% of our profits after tax.
Wetherspoon has won more awards from English Heritage and Camra for the design and restoration of old and listed buildings than any other company.
Wetherspoon also has more pubs listed in The Good Beer Guide than any other company and has the highest rating of any large pub company on the local authority-run "scores on the doors" scheme, with an average score of 4.96 out of 5.
Around 95% of Wetherspoon pubs are outside the central London area where Angela lives and works. Many of these areas don't have a "great Japanese" on the doorstep, and Wetherspoon pubs, as their success indicates, are popular in local communities.
Eddie Gershon, spokesman, JD Wetherspoon, Watford, Hertfordshire
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