6th June 2008
Ted Tuppen, Chief Executive of Enterprise Inns, the FTSE 100 listed pubco giant currently seeking REIT status with the HMRC, called 45 MPs "moronic" because they had signed an Early Day Motion highlighting the conduct of Pub companies (Pubcos). The EDM reflects the aims of the Fair Pint? Campaign, and calls for the Business and Enterprise Committee to conduct a follow up investigation to the 2004 Trade and Industry Committee Inquiry into pubco behaviour towards lessees of their estates.
EDM 1328, tabled by Tim Farron MP, highlights the fact that the 1989 Beer Orders, which were intended to increase competition in brewing, wholesaling and retailing, have led to the concentrated ownership of British pubs in the hands of Pubcos. It also notes that pubs are closing at the rate of around 27 pubs a week and that in 2006-07 bankruptcies amongst pub landlords increased seven-fold.
The motion also expresses concern that the recommendations of the Trade and Industry Select Committee in 2004, intended to ensure fairness in the pub market, have failed to be adopted.
Steve Corbett, a member of the Fair Pint? Campaign steering group, said:
“Mr Tuppen’s comments betray the disdain he holds for his tenants, the consumer and their elected representatives. Our campaign is calling for an open, transparent and fair debate about the future of the UK pub market.
Responding to Ted Tuppen’s comments on how few closed pubs actually belong to any of the five largest pubcos, Steve Corbett said:
“We do not dispute that the pub trade is in general is decline but tied pubs are being hit hardest. Pubcos can continue to quote the British Beer & Pub Association’s figures, which state that managed and free-trade pubs are closing faster than tied pubs, but the fact is that these figures do not take account of the multitude of tied publicans who go out of business, only to be swiftly replaced with another tenant.”
The Fair Pint? Campaign is calling on the Business and Enterprise Committee and the Office of Fair Trading to reinvestigate the Pubcos and the tied pub market.
1. Ted Tuppen referred to MPs - who supported the EDM - as "moronic" in a meeting with city analysts on 13th May.
2. The Fair Pint? Campaign is a coalition of independent, tied landlords.
3. To arrange interviews or for further information, please contact Hugo Legh or Sarah Hyder at Connect Public Affairs on 020 7222 3533 or firstname.lastname@example.org.