JD Wetherspoon has reversed a decision to withhold staff pay until a government rescue package kicks in.

The U-turn came after chairman Tim Martin told staff they would not be paid until the start of a Government programme which will cover 80% of the salaries for workers who have been put on furlough leave.

Wetherspoon has since drawn up its own proposed rules on how the Government retention scheme could work, and has submitted these to ministers for approval.

Martin said the pub chain’s 43,000 workers will be paid on Friday for hours worked last week, with the first payment under the state-backed wages scheme to be made on April 3, subject to government approval.

Martin said his firm will still freeze payments to suppliers, even for goods already received.

In an email, Martin asked suppliers for a moratorium on payments, saying the pub chain would repay what it owes within a short timeframe once the Government allows it to trade again.