Don't know what 'Velvet Glove Iron Fist' has to do with pubsbut HEY it takes all sorts of experts to come forth on the pub sector... well written and wrong piece about the future of the pub sector...
My comment below here. I'm just a failed publican, what the hell do I know?
The only solution IS government intervention. Pubco's have no interest in pubs, only in the salaries of their directors and the perfunctory need to repay interest on debt they will never, ever repay the capital on. The Beer orders were nefariously fiddled with as they went through parliament and lords and through into legislation. They were made to have loopholes that pubco's could germinate and grow out of. Pubco's DO exploit tenants. Pubco's asset strip pubs. The evidence is all over the British landscape in the thousands of chronically underinvested pubs from Land's End to John O'Groats.
None of it is complicated, what is happening to pubs is a low grade, in plain sight, corporate scam on a massive scale. Pubco's charge over market rent and up to double the price for supplies that tenants would pay if they were free of tie. This makes the businesses tenants try to make a profit out of in the pubco's massive dilapidated estates of shamefully neglected pubs fail. It is no more complicated than that. When one business fails another publican comes along and sets up shop, convinced the reason the previous tenant failed was because they didn't know enough, work hard enough, spent their money on the wrong things, had the wrong attitude, appealed to the wrong type of clientele - whatever there's a thousand reasons why a new tenant takes on an already serially failed business and sets up shop in a pub only to fail a year or two down the line... When so many tenants have churned through a pub never investing enough to arrest the long term decline in the pub's fortunes that the pub has become unlettable - ie the pub is in such dire condition that there is no one foolish enough to persuade themselves that spit, elbow grease and thirty grand or so will be enough to make hay - then the pubco decides to flog off the freehold 'asset' for cash to pay down the interest on their gargantuan debts... the debts they have no intention of ever repaying, the debts they raised to buy the estates in the first place.
Then the pubco's fall back on their lexicon of fertile excuses for why the pub failed and is 'no longer economically viable' and say to the world 'times are changing and there's nothing we can do about it, sadly we have to sell it is the only business decision we can take that makes financial sense... the pubco's are shifting about 1,500 pubs a year between them like this.
As for surveyors and rent do you know what parallel rent assessment is? Oh and by the way - the people who write the statute are publicans who know what is happening... not academics with grand naive ideas about how the pub sector works, or doesn't.
Anyway. The only force strong enough to slow this assault on our traditions, history, way of life and our very sense of place IS government. And they aren't that interested really. IF they WERE interested they would have acted twenty years ago and got rid of the Tie altogether. There's no place for it in contemporary society. The beer tie and the tied pub sector is a gross anachronism, a playground of unsupervised crony capitalism for dull witted bullies to play out their poor quality business ideas secure in the knowledge that even people who love pubs, beer and the people and places they serve, people like you - get it wrong all the time and end up protecting the people that are committing a cultural crimewave under the nation's noses... the pubco's, the pub killers.