Pubs are recognised internationally to be among Britain's most significant traditionally identifiable historic and cultural icons. Pubs are THE emblem of Britain's sense of place and very social being. Pubs hold a special and unique place in the hearts and mind of the British people. For centuries well run pubs have served the British people as genuine community hubs, important centres of secular social interaction, the source of up to date news on all things local and abroad. Pubs WERE our Cafe Society before the term was even invented.
Yet pubs are failing everywhere. It's no wonder really because behind the scenes the majority of our pubs are owned by Private Equity driven property companies - Pub Companies or pubco's - who systematically over the last thirty years have sucked ALL the profit out of the pub industry to pay off huge debts they accumulated setting up their business, and rewarding their shareholders and boards of directors handsomely while leaving their tenants without profit, penniless and unable to invest anything back into their own pub businesses.
This has left the British landscape strewn with thousands of run down, dilapidated and unkempt pubs, paying ridiculously high rents, selling expensive beer - sold to them by their freeholders at DOUBLE the price it should be because of the Beer Tie.
Customers have gradually moved their socialising from pubs to places that are better value and more comfortable. Places that have been invested in, ranging from their own living and dining rooms to the tables in chains like Starbucks, All Bar One and Pizza Express - chain operations that actually spend money keeping their businesses relevant to their customers and pleasant to be in.
The legacy of Britain's irresponsible, greedy, short term profit grabbing pubco's is a nation of boarded up boozers that aren't fit for purpose, waiting to be snapped up cheaply and turned into Betting Shops, Tesco Locals, Fast Food outlets and private housing developments that are rarely wanted, or particularly needed, by their local communities. Planning laws aren't strong enough to prevent the damage and communities don't have sufficient capacity to react quickly enough to stop the inevitable happening.
It's a cultural crime of unprecedented proportions. A barren harvest sown by wine swilling boards of self satisfied directors who care more for their second and third homes in Tuscany, their private yachts and education bills, their fat annual bonuses and cash sums taken out of ever decreasing estates and returns than they do about Pubs, People, Culture, Heritage or the true Value of Anything.
The British have abandoned pubs in favour of Starbucks, All Bar One and Pizza Express... Blame the pubco's and consider how to change this tragedy