Thursday, March 24, 2016

More on the Establishment

I've been involved in this area of Protecting Pubs for over a decade.

I'm one of many people who have been (tirelessly and selflessly though described by the multi million per year earning CEO's of the pubco's as being 'self serving with a personal agenda') been working our butts off for YEARS trying to expose the #GreatBritishPubcoScam In this time I've seen journalists and production companies take a serious interest - and have seen some of those come to publication in dilute form from the original synopsis. on at least three occasions a Panorama / Dispatches has been about to be commissioned. There has been a Sunday Times expose in the offing, a Sunday Mirror, a Financial Times, and so on... we got feedback Steve Corbettcan confirm on the FT that their editorial desk got threats of litigation within three days of our delivering a massive amount of verifiable evidence to a journalist on the churn rates of Punch Taverns pubs between 2006 and 2008.

In every instance - at some point along the line - the story gets diluted or hits buffers and doesn't get made... and there is never a reason given for why - in every instance the trail / scent just tails out and there's no further contact made with the people concerned... There is no doubt there is a conspiracy and it's rooted in the Pubco's and Family brewers being totally at ONE on this - deny abuse of the beer tie, with aggressive, litigious threat - and manipulate the narrative. It definitely happens right up to government level, BEYOND Select Committee and departmental responsibility. The evidence for this assertion lies in the complete lack of these stories coming together in a cogent properly joined up way for public consumption. OH, and in the Tories three line whip against the Market Rent Only option coming into effect via the vehicle of the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015... the Tories are up to their neck in it. But then Labour obfuscated and pushed it around for years as well... the glue that is keeping  the Pubco Establishment together is ... more later

The scam is touched on in dribs and drabs in local news stories and short slots in national newspapers (usually business pages) and on television... all the massive amount of evidence there is does not get gathered up and NEVER gets joined up into the mainstream.

I've been involved in Publican and Tied Tenant led groups gathering evidence and delivering it to Government since 2004... and this is not just some insignificant disgruntled rump of pubs - this is major stuff including evidence gathered by Federation of Small Businesses, Forum for Private Business, GMB and Unite Unions and several tenant groups with between them several thousand tied publicans. Remember Tied Publicans NEVER put their head above the parapet because they live in fear of being pressurised, bullied, evicted, bankrupted by their 'business partners'... even writing these words, couching the reality this way, seems so extreme to modern sensibilities about business it seems an exaggeration - but in all honesty - anyone on the outside of the reality of the sordid goings on in the tied pub sector cannot possible rationalise the reality because it IS so extreme.

AND WHY would any of it get into the mainstream press? There are hundreds of £millions at stake in profiteering from the downfall of pubs everywhere... :

Tied Pubco's need to sell for alternative use because their revenue streams are less than the amount they HAVE to pay in debt interest - if they do not make their payments they go into default. Pubs are being used as cash flow.

Where pubco's dont' render the pubs into the outside market they become landlords directly to Tesco Coop whoever - Enterprise Inns recent business forecast announced an average rental income on their 'pubs' as supermarkets at £58K a year. The average rent on 'their' pubs that are still pubs is £36K - doesn't take a genius to figure out why they want their pub estate to go the way of NOT being pubs...

End users of the pubs - in succession: ie: betting shop chains, Sainsbury's; Tesco; Coop Food; McDonalds; Lidl, Aldi etc - interspersed by hundreds of small time (big to you and me) petty developers rendering pubs into residential / shops / other alternative retail use everywhere - there is a LOT of money to be made out of these units

And around the country there are hundreds of people interested in buying pubs to turn them into houses for themselves>

WHY would ANY of the above want what is happening to stop? They are all profiting hugely from the demise of pubs.

The Coop and CAMRA BOTH are at the forefront of the Government's OFFICIAL Pubs' Preserving measures through promoting ACV status and the saving of pubs via the mechanism of the Localism Act and the Community Shares scheme - Locality, Social Investment Business, Power to Change, Big Potential and other smaller granting initiatives have been set up to fund these areas with tax payer / Big Lottery money - such as with the £3.6 million just announced to support these programmes.

These schemes are not even worthy. They get more column inches than the whole of the rest of the pub sector put together - that's an area of economic activity involving at the moment fewer than 60 pubs nationally against a sector that has around 40,000 units overall and several £billion turnover against perhaps £30 million a year with a projected expansion in the community pubs' sphere to maybe (maybe) 140 pubs by 2018. Does that make sense? At ALL?

To help save 80 pubs over two years - it is a statistically, data wise - completely insignificant intervention in the market. Plunkett Foundation already has OVER 100 communities showing interest NOW at this moment in trying to save their pubs market evidence proves that like clockwork in the next 2 years another 3,000 pubs will be sold for alternative use out of the tied pub sector... to pay interest instalments (NOT capital) on the debts the pubco's raised to buy the pubs in the first place...

The figures, the sums tell the truth, it is ALL about money and NOTHING to do with the desire among communities to see their local pubs preserved and thriving, generating social capital and community well being... Quite simply the press and mainstream media aren't allowed to report it.

Though Coop and CAMRA are at the forefront of saving pubs they both are complicit, COOP and CAMRA in the #Scam - and it is all about money for them too... I'll go into the reasons for their being involved later if anyone is interested. I have to go and see a man about a pub right now...

There can be no doubt whatsoever that CAMRA HQ is an absolutely structural part of the problem.

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