Save Our Pub

Lord Hodgson

The House had the Second Reading of the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill last week – a bill on which the Government suffered a surprise defeat at the very end of proceedings in the House of Commons as a result of which the pub “tie” – by which brewers give financial and other support to their tenants in return for selling the brewery’s drinks – will be brought to an end.

This is a popular decision arising from public disappointment at pub closures linked to resentment at what is seen as predatory behaviour by pub owners.

Sadly the truth is more complex. The pub sector is one under severe strain – people can buy alcohol in the supermarket at less than half the price they have to pay in a pub (tied or untied) so they drink at home; rapid socio economic change and the deindustrialisation of recent years have robbed pubs of many of their core supporters; the rising tide of regulation and costs have also taken their toll. So I fear pubs are likely to continue to close.

To minimise losses pubs have to select and focus on a target market – be it food (fine dining or pub grub), families (play areas for kids), younger men (sport on TV and pub games) or the retired (cheaper food, especially at lunchtimes).

To achieve this focus successfully requires know how and capital. These are what pub owners provide – and do so in return for being able to sell their drinks – “the tie”.

Remove the tie and you risk removing this source of funding and advice. So perversely ending the tie may accelerate the rate of pub closures not slow them.

3 comments for “Save Our Pub

  1. 10/12/2014 at 4:22 pm

    Perhaps you failed to claim an interest as a former director of Marston’s brewery?

    I guess the “socio economic change” you refer to is the increase in the Muslim population:
    They are no doubt far too busy driving on the M4 to ever visit a pub.

    Who supplies the drink for the supermarkets to sell cheap? Presumably the breweries. The reason it’s cheap is because big supermarkets have power, even over the breweries. The small pub landlord, on the other hand, doesn’t have a chance of standing up to a large company, who happy to squeeze every drop of money out of him. That’s why measures such as this are needed.

  2. MilesJSD
    10/12/2014 at 7:42 pm

    Why does Britain still so deeply react
    and destructively-compete against
    the designing and construction of

    Wellbeing Centres

    each expansive enough to cover all levels,
    and affordabilities,
    of wellbeing maintenance
    and of further holistic-life-improvement needs ?
    I mean, that the Pub

    based on maximised consumptions of alcoholic-beverages
    on salty-crisps, and foods,
    and on low-challenge ‘social-participations’ such as
    Karaoke, Darts, Raffles, Bingo, and consumeristic pop-TV-wall-to-wall screenings,

    should have remained for so many modern decades still the principal British Social and ‘Serious-Discussion’ Centre

    is ‘suckening’.

    That the new string of gargantuan “Life Centres” all over Britain,
    which should more accurately have been called “Physical & Olympic Fitness Gymnasia”,
    should be dogs-in-mangers
    of safest, gentlest, and most healthy basic body-movement
    and of holistic-life-improvement fundamentals
    and of their very affordable ongoing easy progressions;

    this is all equally sickening.

  3. Bill Jones
    14/12/2014 at 4:24 pm

    We were in the pub trade centuries ago Felinfoel of West Wales.
    The tenated pub business was often an ugly one, which forced the unwitting tenant in to all sorts of unwholesome businesses,
    some indictable.

    Managing a pub may mean sharing the reponsibility on 8 hour shifts in such a way that nobody sinks slowly but surely over the years, down behind the counter, the worse for permanent drink.

    Pub closures started about 25 years ago in earnest, along with the change in opening hours, which the predator pub chains sought, so its a bit late to complain about it.
    It would seem that the hour of “foregathering”, at 2100, on a Friday or Saturday night at the local is a thing of the past.

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