Monday, October 26, 2009

Comment on BBPA: get on board with new pub code

The perspciacious 'findings' of OFT (OFT being notorious for not being able to find a clothes rail in a wardrobe) has temporarily emboldened the pubcos and BBPA into believing their own rhetorical mantras about the tie being the best thing since sliced bread but none of it can change the disaster that is the pubco model until pubcos cease to exist. According to BBPA and OFT the hundreds of pub closures every month are nothing to do with tied lessees being charged DOUBLE for their beer and more for their rent than free of tie pubs? Oh and besides, all the closures are in the free trade aren't they, the tied sector being much more robust because of all that costly love and support from the propcos.

All those millions of normal pub punters, the ignorant, uninformed people up and down the country are only imagining their local publicans having a hard time because their rent is too high and they're being charged double for their beer. They're only imagining all those hundreds of tied pubs around the country they see closing and reopening four times every three years by different tied lossees, sorry typo, lessees. Being refurbished as low cost entries into the pub business before a very expensive exit a few months to a couple of years later.

The arrival of Brigid Simmonds at BBPA hasn't changed any of this. Nothing is different just because a few new faces like hers, Roger Whiteside and Neil Robertson have hit the industry. Nothing has changed in the mindset of the BBPAs pubco paymasters who remain as deeply committed as ever to removing all profit from the floor to the boardroom. Pubs closing, churning reopening are just collateral damage in their passion for peak profit.

Ms Simmonds upbeat statements about her paymasters sound great but truthfully little could be further from reality than:

"They are as deeply committed to the future of the great British Pub as they are proud of their pub heritage, one they have been building and developing for more than 200 years." You don't need to do more than look around at the state of exterior decor of pubs all over the UK to debunk THAT little romantic imagining. There is NO evidence of commitment or care on the part of pubcos at that level is there?

"All our member companies, from the largest to the smallest, are committed to implementing these changes" So committed that Greene King for one has already thrown in the BBPA towel. Be sure the others will run a horse and cart through these most basic expectations of corporate behaviour they should have been emloying as a matter of course in their activitites over the last twenty years.

"the issues of the economic downturn, record recession, over-regulation and excessive taxation are the most significant factors depressing licensee incomes and driving pubs out of business." Oh, that's right. Business failure has NOTHING to do with how much tied lessees are being charged by pubcos - with rent as much as free of tie and easily as much as DOUBLE on beer.

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