Sunday, May 17, 2020

#NoPubNoRent A Movement for Change

This is what I posted elsewhere in a private forum with more than 1,500 pub licensee members to a publican, elaborating my thoughts about why #NoPubNoRent is so important a campaign. And that was in response to a tied pub lessee posting caution of his understandable concerns and fears about being involved in #NoPubNoRent stimulating reprisals from freeholders for holding out against their demands for rent when for the majority of tenants operating at FMT, or below, there's no possibility of paying it. The reason there's no possibility of paying the rent, irrespective of grant or loan position is because their businesses aren't profitable and they're always running on empty, living out of cash flow, like mini versions of the pubcos which is, precisely, the crux of the matter. The pubcos force their tenants' businesses to run on empty, it's their business model, because the pubcos cannot afford to let their pubs at Fair Rent and Supply Prices because THEY are so highly geared the business doesn't stack up unless they sweat assets to the maximum, and beyond...

Unfortunately many, many tenants don't 'get' what they've been sucked into, which is a contract to indentured labour. Only tenants who exceed the pubco's expectations of 'fair maintainable trade' for any given outlet have ANY chance of survival in business. The pubcos rents are set to SWEAT assets that can only survive the valuation and excessive costs of profiteering beer prices with the business running at full pelt. That's not Fair, it's not Maintainable and it's not reasonable Trade. It's what keeps tenants on a hamster wheel running 24/7 365 unable to stop, look around, take stock and understand fully what's happening to them.

The tied licensee says on his post dissenting against #NoPubNoRent, he wants convincing about continuing with the campaign. It's not complicated, really. This has nothing to do with different circumstances for every tenant and some being able to benefit from furlough, grants and soft ish loans and it has nothing to do with fairness toward freeholders.

#NoPubNoRent is a strategy, a stand, a fixed point to strengthen the position of thousands of tenants, a position to take jointly and severally in unison, in recognition of the FACT that individuals have no sway or negotiating power against the pubcos - who are working together, naturally as they are a CARTEL, to strengthen THEIR position AGAINST 20K tenants who they're expecting to bail them out of the deep hole they've dug for themselves over the last 40 years as they turned from being pub companies into fly by night vulture capital backed retail asset conversion specialist spivs.
#NoPubNoRent is about standing together to make corporate bullies who as a basic part of their business machinery, put thousands of their 'business partners' out of business every year, year in, year out, as they con people into running pubs for them to pay the costs of landbanking until the Pubs are no longer fit for purpose and they can flog them off for cash to get 10 years projected rent income to point at the debt mountain in one go... 

#NoPubNoRent is about forcing the pubcos to the wire. Making them take the kind of outrageous actions in public domain they do to individuals all over the country all the time and forcing them out of their white collar complacency and into the spotlight of public scrutiny so their barbaric business model is exposed for what it is. Abuse of corporate power. Banditry. Bullying. Corporate deception. Fraudulent practice. Mis-selling and misrepresentation. Skulduggery and Ripping off the whole nation along with their 'business partners'.

The Pubcos should not be in existence. This is a stand against them putting thousands of publicans out of business to pay their impossible to repay, irresponsibly raised debts and unacceptable bad practice.

One could look at it this way: Standing against the pubcos now is a unique opportunity; it will NEVER happen again. This is a chance to say 'I've had enough of it' and put a line in the sand. This is THEIR problem - and they are trying to make it everyone elses' by dividing all tenants... Taking a stand now against the inevitable happening down the line, post reopening post crisis - risking the freeholder taking action against you now against the inevitability of business failure some time from now. Like after reopening when turnover has fallen 30% from where it was...

Most publicans - tied particularly - run their pub businesses in financial crisis all the time; the very model of the tied lease is marketed by the pubcos and described by their trade body, the Beer and Pub Association as a low cost entry to business MOST tied leases start off, almost by definition, under-capitalised, under invested, short of cash and unable to evolve, innovate, make changes to the building or the offer... which a basic reason why as I say above, most publicans are running on empty. The inevitable is the business will fail eventually and unless (I have been there, seen it been IT) something remarkable happens to increase turnover by 10% or 20% or 30% - to get it into solid profit ... " if only we could get the upstairs rooms into service for B&B, the fire access to the function room on the first floor, if only the kitchen could have an upgrade, if only the garden furniture... if only the boiler could be replaced, if only we could afford another member of staff to take the strain off working 6/7 days a week, if only I didn't have to have another job to hold down the business at the pub ..." All these if onlys keep people going - keep people working fanatically hoping to release the extra trade they KNOW they could bring in ... if only... these are the things that thousands of people in run down, dilapidated pubs that the pubcos had no right to rent out in the first place because REALLY they are not fit for purpose as modern, hard working retail catering outlets... they aren't up to standard...

Make a stand. Stick to it. Make as much polite and reasonable noise as possible act together. All tenants across all pubcos. Play it as it comes... the pubco's aren't programmed to manage people who don't bend over and take it like a slave... 


  1. 240 pub tenants sign letter to Toby Perkins MP calling for better representation

  2. POLEMIC ALERT with link to article on blog. This forum is called Protect Pubs. We are UNABLE to Protect Pubs because we are up against a pernicious powerful pubco status quo that keeps us powerless.

    The #NoPubNoRent campaign has, rightly, been getting some traction in the mainstream press. It takes a pandemic for people to notice how important pubs really are, and for there to be enough space in the news cycle for journalists and editorial desks to think 'let's have a look at what's happening to pubs' and for there to be enough publicans NOT working 60-80 hour weeks, for the first time ever, for them to be able to respond when the news cycle turns to them.
    Thousands of pubco tenants are in serious financial trouble NOW - and cannot afford rent - even the ones who are fortunate enough to be eligible for grants and loans - and they are being bullied by their freeholders cannot afford rent ... And I keep trying to highlight this because I vowed in 2008 that I would never rest until we see the end of the beer tie and the pubcos who abuse US and society, I'm still in several publican forums and what I see there is shocking, tragic, sad and wrong. People, victims of corporate bullying.

    I'm soooo glad I'm not a tenant publican anymore, for once the personal disaster that befell me at the hands of S&NPE/Heineken/RBS almost a decade ago seems in retrospect to have been prescient and now I experience the upside vicariously as I personally am out of the HELL that the pubcos bestow on tied tenants.

    What I read in those forums of tied tenants' fears about their pubcos making reprisals for being involved in the #NoPubNoRent campaign makes my blood boil. It is unconscionable that bullying corporate sociopathic delinquent pubcos get away with treating people the way they do, with total impunity, year in, decade out. The #GreatBritishPubcoScam has been ripping stealthily through our pubs and communities for two decades while everyone's too busy to notice or do anything about it.

    1. NOW I have to say it's weird being one of the only people in the whole of the UK saying this, (there are a few of us but the others are all full time publicans working long hours while I have more time) again, and again, and again, year in, year out and being called a 'conspiracy theorist' and 'unhinged' and worse. Not that I take any of it personally - I couldn't give a fuck what anyone thinks about me - all I'm doing is telling the truth. I CARE about other people, I CARE about pubs. I CARE about what good pubs do for their communities and for helping be the glue that binds civil society together, I CARE about our heritage, our history, social traditions, our Sense of Place. I CARE about PUBS and everything they mean to society - and all of that is being eroded, stamped on by white collar spivs who do not give a flying fuck about any of it...

      You see now I am swearing. I started out campaigning in the mid 2000's being polite with the Fair Pint Campaign alongside some really marvellous people - because we never had a budget and never employed anyone - because we never had any money - outside of palriament we were comprehensively IGNORED even though all the material we delivered to palriament led to our work CHANGING THE LAW - nothing happened on the ground. In fact, if anything the pubcos' behaviour got worse, The press kept publishing the pubco and British Beer and Pub Association press release LIES, CAMRA kept saying progress was being made, that change was happening, when it wasn't - oh god there's sooo much more - and I got so frustrated I stopped being polite and started swearing and calling out pubco execs what they are... thinking 'maybe if I say FUCKING HELL people might take notice and began swearing in writing in public to try to HEIGHTEN the seriousness of the situation. THEN I got called hysterical and was told using language like that 'does nothing positive in support of the cause you espouse' (I'll never forget that pompous nonsense from a Geordie ex barrister who likes to pontificate and show he's clever with vocabulary). So I pointed out I was swearing because no one takes any notice when you are polite .... Meanwhile one thousand pubs kept closing every year, like clockwork - and CAMRA and BBPA kept telling the world the numbers were dropping - from 58 a week down to 18 a week up to 30 a week back to 26 and so on - when actually STILL a thousand pubs were closing - and still do - every year. We have been watching a cultural crisis - a national local community train wreck - as our pubs have been cynically run down into not fit for purpose suitable for alternative use and put up for sale all over the country.

      Carol Ross and her pub, the Roscoe Head in Liverpool is The CANARY IN THE GOLD MINE that is the pub sector to 'pub companies' who are NOT pub companies but vulture capital funded retail asset conversion vehicles. Her story and the story of her, and her family's pub is the story of the #GreatBritishPubcoScam... Like all tied tenants, Carol has been abused for a very long time; Decades - of that separately, later. Her story is still being written as Hawthorn Leisure and New River Retail enabled by Pucnh Taverns before them - profiteer from Carol's endeavour, metiuclous pride she's placed in HER pub and decades of hard work she's put in. The pubco is refusing to renew Carol's lease taking back the pub for own use. This is risible.

    2. None of it is rational. It SHOULD NOT BE HAPPENING this should be a national outcry. CAMRA is FULLY aware ... and what?

      What I do is draw attention to real behaviour, not imagined, that most people are too cautious, too frightened to speak out about ... All the stuff I mention is out there in the national press - if you look around - it's in the company accounts of all the pubcos, it's in the business papers as they flog hundreds of pubs at at time to retail asset coversion specialists - as pubcos send tenants threatening letters warning them not to object to the pubco putting in planning permission to build a supermarket in the garden, or offering bribes to tenants to vacate their pubs - All this gets pointed out and all this gets ignored comprehensively by the mainstream, by CAMRA, by beer writers, by Plunkett, by everyone in the UK that has any serious influence or sway. I point out what is obvious and am told 'you're exaggerating' 'have an inventive mind', 'you're conflating it, making 2 and 2 add up to ten', 'you don't understand the bigger picture', or just, what was it Ben Wilkinson from CAMRA said in an email recently? Ah yes: 'Take more water with it Mark'. the national campaigns director of the Campaign for Real Ale, ignores publicans who are invited, at their own expense, to travel the length and breadth of Britain to contribute to CAMRA pub tenant feedback committees - voluntarily - these publicans are the best informed people in the UK on what the pubcos are doing, continually to their tenants, who stick their neck out and tell the truth about what is happening to pubs - to our society, and CAMRA ignores us and when we point it out we are mocked. It is awful.
      Pubco's - all of the tied pubcos have been screwing tenants with over valued rents and outrageous profiteering supply prices for decades - purely because THEY CAN.

  3. It's November 2022 now. And there's a lot more to say.