7th November 2008
Members of the Fair Pint campaign are giving evidence to the Business and Enterprise Committee’s inquiry into pubcos today. The inquiry revisits one that their predecessor undertook in 2004, and will investigate how the recommendations have been applied.
Fair Pint was set up earlier this year to lobby Parliament and the Government to take action to ensure the survival of the British pub industry, which is being systematically driven into the ground by those that control the majority of pubs in the country. Pubcos use the ‘beer tie’ to generate significant profits, over and above the revenue that they take from rents and fruit machines, by forcing their ‘partners’ to buy beer through them at hugely inflated prices.
Brewers used to use the tie to ensure the promotion of their beer in their pubs. However, the tie has no purpose in the current market, where the vast majority of pubs are no longer controlled by the breweries. Fair Pint is calling for the removal of the tie from all leased pubs.
Fair Pint will be represented at the Committee hearing by Brian Jacobs, an accountant with 50 years of experience in the licensed trade. He also gave evidence to the Trade and Industry Committee’s inquiry in 2004. He will give evidence alongside Clive Davenport of the Federation of Small Business (FSB) and Paul Daly, who has both tied and free-of-tie pubs in east London.
Brian Jacobs said:
“I am delighted that we have been given the opportunity to raise our concerns to the Select Committee members. These buy-to-let property companies have flagrantly disregarded the recommendations that the Trade and Industry made four years ago, and it is high time that they were held to account.
“MPs must be made aware of the practices that pubcos use in order to screw every penny possible from those that they claim to be in partnership with.”
Paul Daly said:
“I am shocked at how the pubcos have been able to get away with the way that they have been treating their tenants for so long. I cannot believe the difference in prices that I have to pay for beer in my tied pub compared to my free-of-tie pub. The price I am quoted by my pubco for Carling is 61% more expensive, and Grolsch 55% more, than what I could achieve at my free-of-tie premises. The pubco model is simply not sustainable.”
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).
2. Fair Pint will give evidence to the Business and Enterprise Select Committee at 10.30am today in Committee Room 16, Palace of Westminster
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