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Rent hikes thin end of wedge There has been a lot of talk about the proposed hike in annual licence fees, not least in the pages of MA (Fees hike...

Rent hikes thin end of wedge

There has been a lot of talk about the proposed hike in annual licence fees, not least in the pages of MA (Fees hike blow for pubs,

1 Feb).

This proposal is bad enough, but I wonder what pubcos will end up charging tenants/leaseholders who have agreed for their pubco to be the premises licence-holder?

To this you could add on annual rent and product increases, annual business tax and renewal of personal licences, increased wage costs, insurance increases, substantial increases in all utilities, plus many more increased costs over the financial year!

Don't forget to add on VAT, divide by 52 and that's how much you have to increase turnover per week, while more and more customers are staying at home and drinking alcohol at massively discounted prices from supermarkets -mainly supplied by UK brewers.

Oh - I almost forgot! You must factor in the impact

of the smoking ban on your percentage of trade - just look at Scotland.

Greene King has already announced the effect on this year's profits in Scottish pubs (I wonder if such pubs are going to receive a rent reduction?)

You can't help wondering why pubcos always act surprised when someone breaks the tie to buy products from wholesalers who supply them at least 30% cheaper than pubcos charge their loyal tenants/leaseholders.

I feel sorry for those who are coming into the trade ill-advised or ill-appointed, or those already in it who are committed to technical clauses.

You cannot take seriously the glossy marketing comments boasting help, assistance, understanding, etc from landlords.

Nor can you rely on any help from this Government, as it is still collecting alcohol duty and VAT when your customers are at home drinking, and taxes when they are smoking.

There's more money in selling coffee and snacks at traditionally sociable hours.

Terence Patrick

Submitted to MA forum

By gum, don't give Gordy ideas I was interested to see you running a competition to win bins for disposing of chewing gum (MA 1 Feb). This prompted me to reflect that Gordon Brown and New Labour will no doubt find a way of taxing gum - should be worth an extra billion to them, and they will probably enforce it by employing "gum police". I kid you not. Graham Allman Submitted to MA forum Cancel Sky, first chance you get With regard to the ongoing grumblings about Sky, I have been a licensee for just eight months and the only reason I have Sky in my pub is due to a clause in my leasehold contract demanding it. Sky simply isn't worth the exorbitant monthly fees (calculated on the ratable value of the premises - which makes mine nearly £700 a month). After a recent visit from my new Sky "business manager", during which I aired my views on their costs, I was informed that PremPlus will cease to exist from the end of the year. Good news, you might think. Not a chance. All the games that are usually shown on PremPlus are to be incorporated into the regular Sky sports channels. On the face of it, this seems like a good idea - until you start wondering who will end up with yet another hike in Sky fees. Plus, if the matches are included in general sports channels, how many people will stay at home rather than go to their local for the match? After telling the Sky business manager that I intend to cancel my contract at the end of the minimum term and am considering using the internet to show sports, I was told that I risk prosecution because of the disputed legality of pursuing this option. Various internet sites offer free Sky sports channels, but with these sites (easily accessible via Google etc) telling us one thing about their legality and Sky another, where do we stand? Until the legality is sorted, I am reluctant to risk either my pub or my personal licence - yet I am still facing a ridiculously high bill at the end of each month, while Sky's shareholders are laughing all the way to the bank. I, for one, will cancel my Sky contract at the first opportunity and advise others to do the same until the fees amount to a sum that reflects the level of business actually generated by having Sky installed. Anna Fox licensee at the Ringside, Hull

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