Friday, July 31, 2009

Pub closure only 6% of all retail closures

Ahem. Edward. No one in the Fair Pint steering group will disagree even for a moment with your assertion that a pub is a business. We all run businesses. We have all been in business for a long time. And know that businesses close for many reasons, the credit crunch being one of them, and some of these businesses are pubs. The stats do NOT reflect the true number of business failures among pubs which is many times that suggested by the official figures. Closure trackers from Punch published earlier this year are proof of this. As for the lazy landlords thing, well, We are not lazy landlords nor do we support or have time for lazy landlords. Lazy landlords is not the point. What pubcos actually DO is the point. Pubcos make massive profits by taking all the profit out of individual pub businesses, leaving the pubs underinvested in and run by disincentivised and broke publicans.

Who knows how many of the 23,000 or so pubco lessees are new to the trade? Not we, the people. No. But the pubcos do. IF IT IS a majority, and they don't know how to run a pub, then you may well ask how come the pubcos let their buildings to all these useless business people? Pubcos don't know how to run pubs - they only know how to asset strip every last drop of money, creativity and personality out of them - which is precisely why pubs are closing.

The reason Fair Pint exists is because it is utterly obvious that NO pubco would even begin to behave fairly without severe external pressure and the ultimate threat of legislation being applied rigorously. The ONLY reason the pubcos are making noises about looking at their model - like suggesting loosening the AWP tie (that old 2004 chestnut) for example - is because pubcos are being exposed for what they are, for the first time. They don't like it because they are in an uncomfortable place - on the back foot - and they don't know how to deal with it.

The tie is in question because it has been abused to the extent that the business model is utterly unsustainable in any, not just lazy landlord, terms...

TO come clean, Edward, Fair Pint is a Campaign not a membership organisation. If Fair Pint only represented ONE lessee that is being abused, bullied, lied to and cheated by their rapacious and unscruplous rachmanesque freeholder then Fair Pint would have good reason for existence. As it is we know hundreds who have experienced this shocking scenario as fact, a 19th century business reality that, in 2009, is TOTALLY unacceptable corporate behaviour which MUST be ended. As for Marston's - their recent making tie fairer gambit is just trying to get in under the wire. It's a cynical ploy to appear to be the good guys and is nowhere NEAR enough to even begin to right the wrongs pubcos have wrought in this industry.

What Fair Pint has done in its campaigning has been sensible, honest and straightforward. That is why Fair Pint is taken seriously at every level of the industry. No other tenant driven vehicle has EVER gained such recognition in so short a time. That issue is not about membership or having the mandate of direct representation of thousands, it is about flexing the rigid status quo in this trade by pointing out all the provable wrongs and abuses of the tie and presenting undeniably unpleasant facts about the way the custodians of the national pub stock are systematically destroying our heritage.

This thread was posted by a denier of pubco behaviour. It is interpreted conveniently to support 'Edward Compton's' views. IT is fine to make such an interpretation but to do so diminishes the argument about why pubs are closing to it being just the simple ebb and flow of wider economics. This is a massive disservice to thousands of struggling lessees whose businesses COULD make ends meet ably if they were able to retain enough profit after being ripped off by their freeholders. This sentence will be regarded by deniers as my opinion. It is not. It is FACT. I refer you to the Punch closure tracker referred to above. Ignoring these figures published by a pubco and pretending it's the tenants and not the pubcos to blame is patent DENIAL.

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