The Fair Pint Campaign

News: Fair Pint welcomes new inquiry into Pubcos

25th June 2008

The Fair Pint campaign is delighted that the Business and Enterprise Committee is to review the recommendations that its precursor committee, the Trade and Industry Committee, made in 2004.

The Fair Pint Campaign, set up earlier this year, was established to highlight the plight of the thousands of ‘tied’ pub tenants who are struggling due to the behaviour of their landlords. A growing number are going bankrupt, having sunk their life savings into an unviable business model.

‘Fair Pint’ relishes the opportunity to puts its case to the parliamentary committee.

Brian Jacobs, a member of the steering group of the campaign, said:

“The recommendations of the 2004 Committee were welcomed across the industry, as they were aimed at breathing transparency into the profit and rent equation, and ensure that the tied tenant is not worse off than if they were free of tie.  However, the major pubcos and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) have only paid lip service to these recommendations.”

“Whilst we would welcome any solution that puts tied tenants on a level footing with their free of tie counterparts, we believe that the only viable option for the Committee is to recommend that the Government bring forward legislation to remove the tie from all leased pubs. 

“Since 2004, pubcos have shown that they cannot be relied on to voluntarily undertake the Committee’s recommendations.  Therefore a statutory solution must be sought.”

Flying in the face of the 2004 Committee, the pubcos have failed to be open with their tenants about the way in which their rents are calculated.  Upward only rent reviews are still in place in many lease agreements, creating huge difficulties for many tenants under current market conditions and exposing pubcos’ claims, that they work in partnership with their tenants, as risible. Similarly, the pubcos have not removed the tie on fruit machines (AWPs), through which they receive a percentage of profit, as well as royalty payments from the suppliers.

The disdain with which the pubcos view their tenants was betrayed by Ted Tuppen, Chief Executive of Enterprise Inns, in a meeting with city analysts in May.  During the meeting Mr Tuppen described the MPs that had signed an Early Day Motion supporting the aims of the Fair Pint campaign as “moronic.”

ENDS

1. The Fair Pint campaign is a coalition of independent, tied landlords and industry experts that are seeking to highlight the plight of UK landlords and consumers who suffer as a result of ‘tied lease agreements’ to pub companies (pubcos). The campaign was launched in the Houses of Parliament in May.

2. 50 MPs have signed EDM 1328 on Pubcos and the Supply Tie.

3. Approximately half of pubs in Britain are owned by pubcos, with the Big Three (Punch, Enterprise and Mitchell & Butler) owning more than 16,000 between them. 

4. To arrange interviews or for further information, please contact Hugo Legh or Sarah Hyder at Connect Public Affairs on 020 7222 3533 or info@fairpint.org.uk.

5. Details of the Business and Enterprise Committee's inquiry can be found on its webpage at http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/berr/becpn46.cfm

 
 
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