A Poor Excuse? We don’t think so…

We asked members of Licensees Supporting Licensees (LSL) who couldn’t attend the Fair Deal For Your Local Rally at Westminster on June 5th why they couldn’t go – the following is a selection of responses cut and paste directly from the group – these are from real people, real tied lessees or ex tied lessees, and as excuses go, we think they are pretty compelling and show why the campaign is so vital.

Pubco Victim

Hi, we’re currently in the process of moving out of the pub, was due to hand the keys back on Tuesday and i was hoping to come on Wednesday but I was offered work today til thursday paying £200 a day I couldn’t turn down for the obvious reasons having just come to the end of 12 years in an enterprise pub. Struggling also to get online as broadband at pub was cut off 2 weeks ago and not got it in new place yet. My story is well known through my exploits with the media all links are somewhere on LSL but I will re-iterate that the high rent, extortionate beer prices, lack of product choice and being shut out of supplying local beer from the brewery at the back of my pub are the main causes of our pub’s demise.

Good luck with it all, i fully support FDFYL and will remain involved where I can – I’ll be with you all in spirit on wednesday and if my story can be put to those in power on my behalf, Val knows most of it. i’ll gladly speak to anyone else who wants to hear our issues but sadly there’s 200 reasons which with the expense of moving into the new place why I can’t make London on Wednesday.

Keep up the good work, much needed change is coming.

Claire Bidwell

Sorry I haven’t been on the group much lately but Barry is ill, it looks like he’s either had another stroke or had a bleed in his brain. God only knows how they located that !! So I’m pretty much trying to do everything myself at the moment and don’t have much time for anything.

Claire xx

Pat Balcombe

Sorry can’t go…I have posted that on the group site. Have no staff and have to paint to avoid huge delaps before we leave. Although i am sure Punch will still find something not quite right! Yes I support FDFYL and have posted on there. So wish I could have come along but sadly as we only have 4 more weeks here I must get the work done, whilst running the bar:(

Bev Cliffe

Sadly I will not be able to attend due to work commitments and a poorly husband.

I do however support FDFYL as we are a victim of the pubco consortium. We lost everything we had worked for all our life and then both of us had illness that can be connected to the stress of running and losing a pubco pub.

I support anyone who can bring these bully boys to justice. Please mention our names as we do not wish to anonymous.

Good Luck in your fight.


Peter & Bev Cliffe

Ex Landlord & Landlady (Three Tuns, Fazeley)

Kevin Bagshaw

We are unable to attend for health reasons, Carolyn goes into hospital that week, but of course we fully support it and will be thinking of everyone on the day.

Dawn Stephen

Hi can’t go as we have a wake that day at our pub and no extra staff. We do support FDFYL. But is just impossible too make it unfortunately. Enterprise take all our money and we get no support back what so ever, wouldn’t even help when we moved in as had to condemn the kitchen as unsafe and had to re do it. No reduction for loss or earnings, yet Enterprise pub less than a mile away gets full support on refurb and anything they want. Sorry cant make it again.

David Fulcher

Would love to be at the rally but to meet Enterprise Inns estimate of staff costs at last review we had to halve the hours paid. So opening less hours, with less staff and I’m at the bar every minute we open. Plus doing the cleaning, accounts etc when closed. I hope you affect the changes we all so sorely need.

Shah Hasan

I wish I could go I haven’t got the money I’m a bit stuck but I have pm Mr Mulholland and thank you will be watching it on tv and many of my customers too.

Kris the rampant horse

I mentioned before and apologised for being unable to go. I can’t go due to Emma being in Spain this coming week so have to work double, I fully support fdfyl, all pubs need help to be fully viable especially tied pubs that have all the strains of the pub trade now a days as well as the horrific methods of the like of Enterprise, Punch and Star charging extortionate stock prices and rents insanely high, I hope the government steps in to prevent this and save all pubs

Lee White

We can’t attend because we cannot afford staff to cover our 7am to 1am every day because enterprise rob us of money to pay staff… minus mondays we sleep on Mondays

Kevin Roberts

Sorry unable to attend after being totally shafted by Enterprise lack of funds means i cannot afford to travel

Jackie Carter

Sorry I can’t be there, recently had surgery on my toe. Probably caused by being on my feet 18 hours a day every day for 4 years to be able to pay exorbitant rent,36k a year, exorbitant business rates 13.5k a year, staff wages, staff holiday pay, covering for staff so no holiday. Not that we could afford one. AND overly exorbitant tied prices for every alcoholic product we sold. Making a loss of 40k 2010/12 (after a freehouse opened in the same town with a population of only three thousand) and being told by the brewery the freehouse wouldn’t be any competition to us!! Fuller Smith and Turner have LESS than 500 pubs. I urge the committee to look seriously at the magic “500” number. Otherwise the “Family Brewers” will continue to carry on regardless, operating the same tied model as Enterprise and Punch because they can. So having lost everything I cannot afford to travel to London either.

Declan Sheeran

Can’t make it as I’m off on my stag at the weekend and herself is getting a weekends worth of work out of me before I go. EI owed me 15k in back rent and decided I didn’t need the money and issued me with credit notes

Bev Ryan

I too fully support FDFYL. We can’t attend the rally due to work commitments. I had been in my pub 13 years, 10 years as the manager and 3 years as the lease holder. We left, or rather Enterprise took re-possession, 18 months ago. We were 100% tied. The rent was £760 per week. We were on Cash With Order. We asked for help either with rent or credit. We were given a week’s rolling credit just before Christmas, otherwise we would have been closed. That should have been in place for 6 weeks, which would have got us over the New Year period and get us back on track. They took it away after just 2 weeks. No notice was given and no explanation. I borrowed money from family and friends to get us through and paid them back. We worked 18 hour days 7 days a week. We had no wage from the pub for the last year and a half. My partner took another job which turned out to be temporary, which if it wasn’t probably would have killed him trying to do both. We worked to pay bills, but that wasn’t enough for Enterprise Inns. We had been beaten. We loved the pub with our hearts and souls. We lost over 30k in 3 years due to Enterprise’s greed and narrow mindedness. We now have full time jobs. We live modestly but we are still together. We are happy. But, I will never stop fighting for the right for Publicans to have the option to be free of tie. Please help FDFYL help other Publicans and save the Great British Pub.

Huw Jones

I’m a Fair Deal supporter but am unable to make the rally as my baby girl was born yesterday. Unfortunately I have already had to go back to work today as I’ve used up all the time off I could afford to get (1 day) and am only able to work part time over the next few days as by brother and dad are working for free for me. If I had a truly fair agreement I would have been able to afford proper maternity cover. Enterprise earn over £100,000 a year from me combined wet and dry rent which is in no way a fair deal as I pay myself under £600 a month for a fifty hour week and yet Enterprise count me as a better than average operator. If I could be at the rally I would as I feel that without change the pub co led industry will result in the failure of many hundreds more pubs at the expense of communities and those in the industry who work so hard to keep these pubs open against an unfair tide of misdeeds from the pub cos who continue to mislead the public about the “help” and “benefits” they offer publicans.

Judi Duff

I fully support FDFYL I am unable to attend as I have just started s new job having been kicked out of our pub 2 weeks before the lease was due to end. We were given 2 hrs to pack our personal belongings we now live in a caravan.

Jerry Blay

I fully support FD4YL but am unable to attend as EI have closed my business several times offering me next to nothing in compensation (£700 for 10k loss of trade) coupled with several other “overcharges” totaling 23k which means cash flow is somewhat limited. If you add to this the £800 per week I pay EI over the top for my “Tied” beer, spirits, fabs and minerals, I can not afford to attend (plus paying staff in my absence). Please accept my apology for my absence but I would more than willing to discuss anything regarding the current pub “CRISIS” anytime.

Trudy Pilmoor

I am sadly unable to attend the meeting in London but fully support FDFYL.

I am unable to attend due to financial constraints that mean I am not able to take time out of my business to do so.

I am on a rolling 3 year tenancy agreement with a ‘small family brewer’ that would not be covered by the proposed legislation. I feel that it is important that the legislation covers ALL tied agreements, not just companies over 500 in number.

I am fully tied for all draught products but FOT on wines/spirits/soft drinks, however with over 65% of my wet sales being draught sales the impact on my business from the tie is massive. I have no objection to being tied for the actual products that my Brewer actually brews itself but for all other draught I do. Their latest proposal is to sell all draught to me at ‘free-of-tie’prices in exchange for full disclosure of my sales data.

Steve Wilson

I’d love to attend this, even though I’m FOT, but I can’t, as the date clashes with my next rent-review meeting; a review that has been ongoing for 6 months. My first meeting was cancelled/rescheduled 3 times (by my Pubco, STAR) and this second meeting is already on its second reschedule, because the ops director didn’t realise he’d arranged the first date for a bank holiday Monday! So I can’t afford to delay it again, especially as my decision either to try to sell the business or terminate the agreement is all hinged on whether or not I get a rent reduction to bring it back down to a viable level (I have to give notice of termination by 20th June, so a further delay to the review meeting will almost certainly exceed this date). My rent is currently £67500 and after much ‘negotiation’ they’re at the “keeping it the same” position. A viable rent, in my experienced opinion, would be no more than £40K, as I not only suffer from all the usual trade issues, I’m also mid-High St in a tourist town, so have also suffered from all related High St and declining tourism issues. But the PubCo, as per all previous rent-reviews, has been totally deaf to any logic, fact or debate and has simply presented their made-up figures to match their desired rental figure…

Sanjay Kapur

Sorry that i cannot attend. Due to being shafted by EI i am now an employee at a firm and i cannot get the day off. All the best for Weds though

Gina Taylor

Sorry cant attend. I am running pub while Hubby works 70 hours a week driving lorries to keep us out of debt with Ent Inns. Good luck to everyone going

Jane Randall

I fully suport FDFYL we lost our pub in November 2009, we were El, my husband and I have pensions and the rally falls in the first 2 weeks of the month so we have to leave enongh money in the bank to pay the OR (£956). We have 2 more payments left to make then we will be free of El at last. They told us we owed them £98000 but have never told us what for. We went bancrupt in March 2010 and started to pay in August 2010. We were lucky we got a job managing a pub for a small brewery, and I have a part-time job as well. I’m 60 and my husband is 72 this is not what we had hoped for at this stage of our lives, should anything happen we don’t even have enough to pay for a funeral.

Deborah Rowen

We apologise but cannot attend the rally on Weds. 5th June as my partner has a hospital appointment on the Thursday and we cannot afford staff cover for both days, he was recently stabbed in the head with a screwdriver while attempting to stop someone stealing from our fruit machine, we have been in our pub for 15 years, ten of these with Punch Taverns and over this time have paid them many, many thousands of pounds in rent and through the beer tie and though they were fully aware of the incident they never even had the common decency to contact us to see how he was.

Though we cannot be there on Wednesday we fully support FDFYL as the above is just one of many examples of the disdain in which we are held.

Claire Alexander

I support FDFYL but cannot attend due to running pub / two small children. Good luck. Thanks to those who are getting there on our behalf, they need reminding about what on earth they’d do without us and what a dull place it would be to live!

Angie Sofia Ryan

Dear Greg, I would love to come to the rally and show support. My MP George Hollinberry as you know is already a supporter. My problem is due to my experiences with ETI I now suffer from severe stress and anxiety and have quiet awful panic attacks in certain situations especially crowds. I am a normal healthy woman and I don’t drink or smoke. I run a successful freehouse pub of nearly 13 years with my husband. Unfortunately I was rushed to A&E by ambulance the other week as they thought I was having a heart attack. They diagnosed ‘Enterstress’. I’ve been told to take it easy although I am doing all I can from home to help with this campaign. I must tell you that it was not the tied ETI pub we had for just ten Months that caused this stress, running the Pub was the easy bit, the happy bit, the stress was caused by ETI’s sudden greed for more rent and the immoral way in which they tried to get it, their lies and unethical business practices forced us to leave even though we had invested quiet a bit into their property. Tuppen himself was involved with the ‘dodgy’ dealings. To be drawn into a battle with a mafia like organisation when you have done nothing wrong and everything right takes it’s toll on you – truly awful times! I hope I get better soon. Just one last letter to write to Tuppen! Hope all goes well on the day. – God bless! Angela Sofia Ryan

Dave Mountford

5 years as a tied lessee with Punch Taverns cost me £85,000, after 1 year running a free of tie pub on higher rent and higher rates I have made a £25,000 profit. I employ more staff, pay my VAT on time and in full, spend more time with my children rather than only seeing them when I need them to work, trade with 37 different Microbreweries rather than none whilst tied, enjoy meetings with my Bank Manager when we talk of investment and growth rather than refinance and debt,  I can grow and develop my business rather than continually battle with my business partner, and whilst I still work long hard hours, I do so in the knowledge that my hard work benefits myself and my family, not a large Pub company that cared no one jot for myself, my family or my Pub – the only difference in this contrasting picture is the Tied Model and its abuse, and whilst I support fully the FDFYL campaign I hope that the reform that is so needed applies to the industry as a whole, not just the easiest targets

Shelly Vicky Morgs

I FULLY support `Fair Deal for your Local` and am gutted I cannot attend. I have emailed Mr Mulholland and Nick Clegg in respect too this and outlined my uttermost support for the cause. Sorry I cannot attend but personal reasons as well as very much lack of funds and a court date. I have e mailed my story too Mr Mulholland re my 11 year experience with Enterprise Inns along with the reason why I cannot attend the rally

Becky Ward

I fully support FDFYL – I am afraid I cannot go…I haven’t even had any dole yet because it’s all screwed up and I am skint due to being evicted from my pub and the problems I have had with the local council rehousing me (or rather not rehousing me).  I will happily tell my story to anyone who would like to hear it.

Avril Roberts

I support FDFYL but unfortunately due to lack of cover & funds , I am unable to attend. I have been with Star pubs & bars (ex S&N) for over 4 1/2 years now & still not drawn a living wage. I have a one room operation , don’t have a kitchen or beer garden yet rent is £47,000.00 per annum. I was recently given a concession down to £36,000.00. We are in the process of negotiating a new rent from Oct 2013. My accountant has been involved in all meetings & insists that our rent should be no more than £28,000.00 to enable us to operate fairly. I am in debt to Vat & business rates for approx £40,000.00. In arrears with electricity for £3,500. There are other debts but too many to mention. If we had not been lied to by previous BDM & had a fair rent from day one , we may have had a fighting chance . Thank you for all the hard work that is going on……I will be with you in spirit on Wednesday but wish I could be there in person

Jenny Watkins

Having been evicted from our pub in 2009 and subsequently going bankrupt due to the action of our pubco S&N..we support FDYL..unfortunately due to lack of funds and illness we will not be able to attend the rally on June 5th.. We traded from 2001 until 2009. at The Bedwardine in Worcester…i was 35 weeks pregnant at the time and we were not able to sleep in the bedroom…so we had to sleep on a futon in the living room ..the roof of the pub was unsafe…after consulting a structural engineer he did a report which said the pub should not of been leased in such a condition…this we produced to the pubco who then had to re-roof the building but then they decided to tie us on a product that was not included in our contract..when we askes to see the original contract they informed us it had been ACCIDENTLY shredded!!!!This was just the start..if you would like more information about the problems we had send me a meassage..

Laura Hardcastle

I fully support FDFYL, but cannot make the rally – I have to work to try and re-establish myself. My experience with Fullers was dire. We went in on a 3-year lease at a rent that was unsustainable even after a small reduction. We were fully tied to Fullers for all beers wines and spirits. Fullers’ attitude throughout was one of continuous complaining that we were doing things wrong, despite the fact that my husband is regarded as a good landlord with over 20 years’ experience, we re-built the business and the pub was popular because of all that. It was never the case that Fullers accepted in any way that they were bleeding too much money out of the business and they just took their money upfront every week for rent and purchases; everything else was always our fault, they said. They were completely unsupportive except to allow me to borrow against my own deposit and inventory money to keep going. My husband and I worked all hours and it put a lot of strain on our relationship, and we were lucky to come out with our relationship intact. In effect we were working very hard to make money for Fullers, not for us. We relied on income from a part time job that I had in order to live. Even so, we lost over £30,000 in the pub over the 3 years. We estimate that Fullers took out well over £100,000 in that time through rent and excessive pricing on the drinks through the tie. We see the pub is still for rent on Fullers website on a 3-year basis and to add insult to injury in the meantime it is let at a rent less than half of what we were being charged and the tenant is not committed to 3 years; this shows that the terms we had from Fullers were totally unsupportable except, of course, at our expense, financially and otherwise. Their gain over £100,000. Our loss over £30,000, and a massive strain on our relationship.

This licensee wishes to remain anonymous

I am unable to rally due to personal obligations Im afraid, sorry. I Fully support FDFYL. I have been in the trade for 14 years, 9 as a barstaff, then manager, and nearly 5 as an Pubco lease holder. Brief run down on pub, well its the busiest in area, but is surrounded by mostly free of tie leases and I am forced to charge at least 40 pence a pint more than my competition due to tied pricing on a all draught and packages beers. Over the years I have charged as little as I can to compete with the free of tie competition, but still loose more and more custom to the cheap beer regardless to my efforts. This results in me turning over well over £300,000 a year and earning approx £15,750 for a 60 hour working week. We do everything under the sun to get this level of trade in,but today’s challenging costs combined with all of my repairing and insurance obligations and the poor margins I am allowed to earn on my tied products(which make up most of my sales) leave me with a disheartening and more reduced bottom line every year. I am about ready to give up on my pub which really is the heart of local community in my area!!! To me a free of tie option with open market rent is the only clean cut positive way forward, as from my experiences, with my pubco, any room for movement given, will be manipulated and we will be back where we started, only worse!!!! Many lease holders myself included deserve more than the minimum wage, and would probably just like to be able to repair their pub with it meaning yet another pay cut, or maybe be able to give a bit back to the loyal customers who line the Pubco’s pockets week in week out!!! I say that because It really would be interesting to see the support Pubco’s claim to give to each publican (thousands of pounds per year) broken down. In all my years, all I have had is a few banners and posters. The discounts they claim to give, are just 10% off the prices they have already inflated by over 50% in some cases!!, its outrageous. In the past I have been lied to, ignored, treated in an attempted bully like way when surrounded by 3 Pubco representitves at the same time, accused of buying in against my contract when the accuser had got confused and read compliance details wrong, Rather than seeing my Pubco as support, I just want to keep them away so they cant damage my business any further. I wont go on any further but I could tell ten times as many tales of lies and corruption. The message from my experiences is simple…. Give Lease holders the choice of Free of Tie, the Pubcos shouldn’t mind, if they are already giving such a fair deal, they don’t stand to lose much do they??

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