Thursday, November 01, 2012

Exclusive: Licensee reveals all about Enterprise Inns and PICA-Service case

Russell, you have done brilliantly to get this result as a pioneer leading the way into PICAS and PIRRS. Well done - you walked the plank and came back with your shirt still on your back. But what had you to go through to get there and back and how long did it take? 

What Russell has experienced is supposed to be a revolution in fairness, openness and transparency in tied pub rent review system. What this illustrates clearly is what an appalling, shameful shambles the pub sector is in - and that reality is reflected all over the UK in the thousands of pubs that have systemically been bled dry by Private Equity interests of the pubco's as they've bedded in to the pub sector over the last 25 years.

The fundamental problem with the whole British PubCo Scam - which is still writ large here - is that tied licensees are in a completely outgunned position against well resourced landlords who routinely, matter of factly use their superior buying power, experience and position to actively squeeze their tenants for everything they can get - and that's not even touching on the tie aspect of beer supply.

To get any form of justice at rent review individual tenants who are working long hours concentrating on developing or sustaining their livelihood must be prepared to stand up, step out of their business and learn to be lawyers, accountants and surveyors against willfully aggressive landlords with unrealistic expecations of their businesses' ability to generate profit and be prepared to spend - even with the new 'fairer' system of review - YEARS fighting their way through the mire and obscurity of the rent review process.

Besides this, behind the scenes it's widely known that the 'fair' rent review systems are swamped with complaints and there are many outstanding cases waiting to be heard in the blocked up pipeline. Each case represents a tenant under stress, distracted from their work, fearful of the expected outcome going against them and a future of effective bonded slavery relief to be found only through dreadful long attrition, eventual business failure, eviction and destitution.

That last bit sounds like melodrama but at bottom it's what all those shut and boarded up pubs all over the UK are emblematic of. And today, as CGS announces the national pub closure rate increasing from 12 to 18 a week, a figure which barely reflects the reality of the cascade of 'new to market' pubs dropping into inboxes every day up and down the country along with the hundreds of pubs whose asking price is in free-fall with are no takers let alone the thousands more just desperately trading on their last wits and dregs, waiting for the inevitable bailiffs'knock at the door - those thousands still to come into the market as 'suitable for possible alternative use' as Tesco Locals, betting shops, mini evangelical churches, fast food takeaways, private housing developments or boarded up eyesores damaging communities all over the UK.

Welcome the future peeps, Hilaire Belloc's maudlin: ‘When you have lost your inns drown your empty selves, for you will have lost the last of England’ is ACTUALLY coming to pass before our eyes while the leaders of our utterly inept tied pub industry still fiddle around trying find new ways to squeeze eggs out of throttled geese.

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