Tim Martin, the founder and chairman of JD Wetherspoon (JDW), has said that the 823-strong managed pub operator, may have to consider scaling back its expansion plans if there is a further increase in beer duty. JDW opened 50 pubs last year and plans to open a similar number in its current financial year. Martin has previously spoken of eventually doubling the size of the group’s current estate. In an interview with Bloomberg, Martin said: “The tax system is unsustainable from the point of view of pubs, They either change the system or they are going to have a lot less pubs. If they put excise duty up again we will look again at our expansion plans. We would consider scaling back on our investments.” Martin said that a further rise of 2% on beer duty, “would be the straw that broke the camel’s back”. He said: “Taxes have to come down just to make the industry competitive.” Earlier this week, leading analyst Douglas Jack at Numis said JDW could struggle to pass on increased costs and maintain volume. He said: “JDW should face more intense cost pressure in 2012E. There is a risk that the company will struggle to both pass these costs on and maintain volumes against a backdrop of falling high street consumer footfall and an eroding pricing position.”