Wednesday, March 04, 2009

'Chancellor has closed 2,000 pubs'

Shock-horror! "New findings prove Ancient Greeks responsible for global warming" is as believable. This latest nonsense pumped out by the faithful pubco poodle is breathtaking!

This is pubco sponsored hearsay. What real evidence exists to prove the Labour government uniquely has anything against the pub trade? Lib Dems have been vociferous in their support of pubs and Conservatives have just set up their own bandwagon a bit late in the day and now, very clearly, the government is taking notice too. BUT there is nothing to prove that anyone else had been in power the pub trade would be in a substantially better position than it is now.

Saying 2000 pubs have shut as a direct result of the 2008 budget is a howler. ASA should be called in to establish balance and accuracy. BBPA wanted an attention grabbing headline before today’s high profile ministerial meeting, picked up a calculator and did 40x50 as weeks since budget x 50 pubs closing every week and got 2000 with an average of ten employees per pub to get the job losses. Very shocking, very scientific, very factual, NOT. It was 27 pubs closing each week this time last year wasn’t it? So even the math ain’t right.

So “Chancellor has closed 2000 pubs” is now bandied about as if it is fact, as if pubs were not closing faster then clams in front of the Walrus and the Carpenter before the last budget and as if a 4p duty increase on a pint was the financial calamity that suddenly tipped thousands of secure small pub businesses into bankruptcy.

Utter, utter TOSH. Rubbish. But of course it goes on: “The beer and pub industry is not looking for a handout". I refer Rob Hayward to the highly regarded Community Pubs Inquiry whose findings, one can safely assume, will be referred to ad nauseam at today’s massed ranks cross party pro pub rally. The inquiry recommends tax breaks, business rate relief, relaxation on gaming machine rules and other forms of hand out to the entire pub business.

All very well and good to get people backing pubs. BUT. Who’s looking at the whole pub trade? Who’s looking at the pubcos? Who’s looking to see how THEIR cashflow is? How THEIR profits are standing up? Where do they, the ones who own all those pubs, all those assets fit in to this?

The tax payer is already picking up the bill for all the unemployed people coming out of the pub trade and this is one more obfuscation of the truth about pubs. It’s ALL about getting government to subsidize highly profitable property owning corporations who have invested so little time, energy or money on their huge estates that thousands of individual small business units have no reserves, no accumulated profit from ‘better times’ to fall back on so they can batten down hatches and ride out a financial crisis.

Pubcos should be open and transparent and so should BBPA. Until they are brought to heel this industry is doomed.

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