THE founder of pub chain Wetherspoon has warned its half-year profits will take a hit from at least £40 million in additional costs in the run-up to Brexit.

But the company's chairman Tim Martin – a Brexiteer – said it was "b*******" to suggest that the spending slowdown facing the wider high street was linked to consumer caution over Brexit.

READ MORE: Wetherspoons founder makes outrageous no-deal claims

He used the Wetherspoon second-quarter trading update to tell investors that a series of cost pressures would combine to hit its bottom line.

Martin wrote: "Sales growth has been strong since our last update. Costs, as previously indicated, are considerably higher than the previous year, especially labour, which has increased by about £30m in the period, but also in other areas, including interest, utilities, repairs and depreciation.

"Profit before tax in the first half is expected to be lower than the same period last year. Our expectations for the full year are unchanged."

Martin later explained that the cumulative impact of the additional charges would take the cost bill to "more than £40m".

The businessman said: "The fact of the matter is that in the pub world ... there are very big cost barriers to overcome."

He mentioned steep increases in government-imposed costs such as business rates and minimum wage rules, saying that 43% of a pint is now paid in taxes.

He believes there is continued VAT disparity between pubs and restaurants versus the supermarket

The value pub chain reported like-for-like sales rising 7.2% compared with the same period last year during the first 12 weeks of its second quarter to 20 January.

The figure was 6.3% for the 25 weeks to the same date.

The businessman has been vocally pro-Brexit since before the referendum, even donating £200,000 to the Leave campaign at one point.

He is an advocate for leaving the EU without a deal and rejected the idea that the decline of the UK's high street was a result of Brexit scaring shoppers away.

He added: "People have tightened their belts a bit... Many have been over-indebted so that is probably a good thing."