Let’s give landlords a chance to survive
A LOCAL ale group has added its support to a national campaign to alter the balance between pub landlords and pub companies.
The Swindon Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has joined the national organisation in calling on the government to alter the arrangement for pub owned companies.
Around 50 per cent of pubs in the UK are owned by a larger company who lease it out to tenants.
Often, part of the agreement is the tenants can only buy beer from the pub owners, often at an inflated price, as well as use previously appointed contractors.
CAMRA Swindon argue this agreement means while the companies are making huge profits, the pub tenants are struggling to keep afloat.
Hans Hoffbauer, the chairman of the Swindon branch, said: “Many of the companies have got greedy and keep putting the prices up.
“The agreements mean landlords often have no choice in which beer they can buy and spend much more than independent pubs.”
Several pubs in Swindon have closed over the past few months and The Grapes Hotel, on Faringdon Road, was recently converted to bedsits.
“We believe that a pub which can at least purchase one beer will be in a much better position,” said Hans.
“The choice is better for the customer and the landlord who can save money.
“We have contacted the government and are now waiting to see what Vince Cable has to say.”
Swindon North MP, Justin Tomlinson, is a member of two all party parliamentary groups for Save the Pub and Real Ale.
He said: “I have been working to support vital local community pubs and bring greater transparency and flexibility within pub ties.
“Things such as guest ales are important but transparency is the key so potential landlords know the full agreement they are signing up to.
“For example, tenants often do not realise they need to use the company appointed electrician to PAT test their equipment.
“This is often much more expensive so I want it so new landlords are fully aware of these arrangements.”
Enterprise Inns is one of the largest pub companies in the country and owns the Rolleston in the town centre.
A spokesperson for the company defended the pub tie.
She said: "We work with thousands of successful publicans who recognise the benefits of the tied pub business model.
“It provides them with a low cost of entry giving them the opportunity to run their own business, and they receive the investment and support of a national pub company.
“Enterprise has worked closely with licensee groups over the past few years to develop new agreements offering greater flexibility for publicans, standard and incentive discounts and free-of-tie options.”
In April this year the government launched a consultation into the pub tie.
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