do more to
help licensees with growing red tape and spiralling costs says the licensee of the Cherry Tree in Farnham, Surrey
Hopefully the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group's community pubs inquiry, that I gave evidence to, will make the Government see some of the pressures pubs are under.
New legislation has left smaller pubs, owned by pubcos and run by self-employed diligent people, with reams of red tape to deal with.
Winter is coming and brings with it a natural slow-down in business caused by the weather, utility bills and the cost of Christmas keeping customers at home and not in the local.
So what will the New Year bring to the future of the already beleaguered licensee?
Tax bills, high utility bills, and the provision of outside areas to cater for smoking customers that cost anything from £1,000 to £25,000. These are responsibilities that are very worrying in these recessional times.
The question I would like to ask is what are pubcos doing to help the small operator?
My own pubco, Greene King, has taken some steps so far. It has produced a brochure and arranged favourable borrowing terms, and business managers have been instructed to be on hand for any guidance.
But will they be there when the small operator finds the going too tough to handle?
I would like to think so, but what of other pubcos?
Will you be there to help when the going gets tough, or will the little man or woman be too proud to ask for it?
Will this be our winter of discontent?
Will there be anarchy among the working classes, frustrated with having less money in their pocket to spend on an over-priced pint and having their leisure privileges stripped away from them at their local?
We can only wait and see.
But from my position,
I would like some assurance from the Government and pubcos that they will do their level best to help the small operator if he or she is in trouble. It's time they stopped acting like the uncaring masters as depicted in Victorian novels.