29th June 2009
The Fair Pint Campaign today welcomed Enterprise Inn’s publication of a letter to Lord Mandelson which admitted that much is wrong with the tenanted pub model and that reform is necessary.
The campaign is, however, unconvinced as to whether Enterprise Inns are willing or able to make reforms which will have any significant effect on the viability of pub tenant’s businesses and the long term future of the sector.
On previous occasions ‘pubcos’ and those brewers which have copied their model have promised reform which would rebalance the relationship between them and their tenants but have only delivered cosmetic changes or moves to help tenants in one area have been accompanied by moves to extract income from other areas, for example by extending the tie to more products.
The Fair Pint Campaign believes that the continued abuse of the beer tie and an unfair rent review system have been responsible for large numbers of pub failures and job losses. Enterprise’s proposals will not significantly rebalance the unfair relationship between them and their tenants.
Fair Pint will continue to press government for real change to commit to implementing the recommendations of the recent Business & Enterprise Select Committee findings, including an urgent investigation by the competition authorities.
Steve Corbett, a tied publican and Fair Pint founder, said:
“The proposals by Enterprise Inns stop short of fully implementing the recommendations made by the Business and Enterprise Select Committee report and will mean that the operation of the tie will continue to lead to pub closures as tied tenants would remain significantly worse off than if they were free of the tie.
“It is clear that the Fair Pint Campaign has successfully forced ‘pubcos’ to think again about the long-term viability of their models but it’s a great shame that it has taken 5 years and two parliamentary enquiries to get to this stage.
“There is now a consensus for real reform in the sector, the majority of the organisations representing the sector are calling for the removal or the severe restriction of the tie, with only the ‘pubcos’ and the their representatives the BBPA resisting significant reform. Fair Pint will continue to press the Government for real reform to ensure that the relationship between the ‘pubcos’ and their tenants is a fair one”
Clive Davenport, Federation of Small Businesses Trade and Industry Chairman, said:
“The FSB welcomes Enterprise Inn’s recognition that the Pubco model must be reformed urgently, but we are concerned the action Enterprise is proposing does not go far enough by any means to bring about the real change that is needed.
“Substantial evidence among the FSB Publican membership shows that the solution to the difficulties publicans face in their relationship with their landlords are not solved by a new set of recommendations but can only be solved through significant reform of the market.
“Our members need fairness, transparency and a chance to run their business on equal terms. Only a full investigation by the Competition Commission can achieve this and anything that derails from that process is not helpful.”