Paul Crossman Paul Swan York
and Nick Love
have been doing in York is brilliant, joined up and very much based in evidence of the pub sector and pub market at ground level. Their work and action has directly informed York planning authority and changed the way pubs are handled when asset stripping freeholders are about to scam the system and sell them off for alternative use... to pay interest on the loans they raised to buy them in the first place.
These guys KNOW what is going on and have not allowed the York local authority to be swamped by lies and misrepresentation spun and published by the Pubco establishment on a daily basis, coordinated via their own press offices then disseminated and hogwashed by their national trade body, the British Beer and Pubs Association.
The stories the pubco's spin to support the fact that ALL the pubco's are selling off hundreds of pubs for alternative use, every year (why we have 12,000 fewer pubs now than we did a decade ago) I've listed below... (paradoxically pubco's preen in their company statements about how successful they are at SELLING OFF PUBS ie: reducing the size of their estate to reduce their debt burden, which in any normal business practice is regarded as a sure sign of business failure).
According the pubco's the reasons they are failing at being Pub Companies are many and complex and out of their hands; the market is shrinking because:
People (that is US, the general public) are not using pubs the way they used to. And this is because:
- Changing demographics (people prefer coffee (and tea) now)
- Competition from supermarkets undercutting them with cheap booze
- Competition of Home Entertainment
- Competition of Social Media
- Red Tape
- Expensive business rates
- Issues of Faith and Religion (seriously)
- The SMOKING BAN
- Living wage
- Publicans not being entrepreneurial enough - not evolving their 'offer'
- Publicans not moving with the times and not being food led (which is the way the Pubco Establishment says the market is going)
- Beer Duty
1) Tied Pub Rents are higher than free of tie rents
2) Tied Publicans have to buy their beer from their pubco at prices that generally are around DOUBLE the open market price
3) the majority of pubs in Britain are Tied Pubs - this means more pubs than any other type - free of tie, managed, owner owned, themed whatever, are tied pubs selling expensive beer, and they are run down because their publicans don't earn enough profit to invest back into their businesses.
So. The REAL reasons people don't go to pubs as much now as they used to is largely because:
Beer is RIDICULOUSLY expensive
AND: Most pubs are run down, knackered and not fit for purpose - the toilets stink, the carpets are threadbare the upholstery ripped and the bartenders are depressed
The MAIN reason BEER is expensive and MOST PUBS are run down and it's served by depressed publicans is:
The Beer Tie
And what Greg Mulholland and Gareth Epps and others like US have been doing has been setting out the stage for change.