Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down

One publican’s response as Enterprise chief Tuppen attacks Government and campaigners over statutory code

This is just one of the many, many responses from publicans – or as Ted Tuppen calls them ‘failed publicans looking for someone to blame’ – to the ‘unintended consequences’ of statutory pubco regulation as he outlined in The Morning Advertiser:

1. A material increase in the rate of pub closures particularly smaller pubs in rural locations.

Rubbish – my pub is small and rural and was owned by Punch from 2007 – 2012, and during that time it churned 6 tenants all of whom lasted less than a year and all of whom lost money. It is now Free Of Tie (FOT) and in a year we have reinvested in excess of 30k and are turning over in excess of £400,000 from a previously closed pub.

2. Closing off the industry to newcomers.

A good thing – people coming into the industry will have to be committed and willing to undertake the running of a multi skilled business rather than those that are lured by the Pubco Model whose recruitment campaign is based not on those skills but how much money can be exploited from them.

3. A huge reduction in the level of investment in Pubs.

Complete and utter rubbish. Pubco’s do not invest without recouping that return in rental increases – which bankrupt quicker than the basic model does. FOT retailers will have more money to invest back into their own business knowing it is rewarding themselves, not some corporate fat cat at Head office. You can invariably spot a tied Pub by the run down state it’s in – if it’s newly refurbed it’s got a tenant that’s just been deceived and doesn’t yet know it.

4. Reduce consumer choice and closure of cask ale breweries and the dominance of international lager breweries.

More complete and utter rubbish – I buy from (currently) 39 more local Breweries than I did when tied (which was none as I couldn’t afford the beer and I couldn’t contact the brewery on the SIBA list to even get tasting notes). The work on Microbreweries completed this year showed an overwhelming support for FOT as the Micros, both SIBA registered and independents,  recognised that FOT would open up the market. As for international breweries and lager scaremongering, this utter, utter, utter rubbish fails to take into consideration the customers view. I couldn’t give Heineken away !!!!.

5. Brewery closure and a massive tax hit to the Government.

So much rubbish here I couldn’t stop laughing – I still owe £25k from my 5 years at the Sun (owned by Punch) and now not only do I pay my VAT and HMRC on time I pay it in advance and my HMRC payments are higher because I can afford to pay people more and recruit more of them.

Just for the record I have only ever run 2 pubs but both have achieved turnover figures that they have never ever achieved before, post smoking ban and during the worst recession since 1929 – so I don’t think I can be classed as a failed Publican but I’m sure there are loads that would disagree.

If Mr Tuppen has any issue with anything I have said then I would more than welcome his comments.

Dave Mountford

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