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Off-trade must take the heat I write regarding the comments in MA Opinion (13 September 2007). You have hit the nail firmly on the head in your...

Off-trade must take the heat

I write regarding the comments in MA Opinion (13 September 2007). You have hit the nail firmly on the head in your article on the off-trade's responsibilities regarding the need to target the excessive consumption of alcohol by underage persons in the UK.

However, there has been a problem for many years.

I am in my 60s and can well remember back in the 1950s and 1960s young men (rarely females at that time) always getting drunk on Friday and Saturday nights, and that it has continued up to the present time is no surprise to me.

That it has increased and become an underage problem is explained by the ease with which alcohol can now be purchased (in the old days there were just pubs and off-licensed premises and alcohol was not, generally speaking available in small corner shops, garages and supermarkets) coupled with the demise of the responsibilities of the Government and police service.

Nowadays everybody makes the right noises but they do little to solve the problem.

I believe that a major part of the problem is young people's attitude to drunkenness, just as it was 40 years ago.

In Europe young and old consume alcohol socially to enjoy themselves; in the UK, however, it is done simply to get as drunk as possible.

I spent many years travelling the world prior to my licensed trade days and it is a fact that young British people abroad nearly always stand out because they are drunk. Changing that behaviour will be a long-term task.

The service of alcohol to those between the ages of 16 and 18 can, in all fairness, be precarious.

But, by and large, it is possible to detect under 16s and as such serving them should be severely punished.

The revocation of a licence should be automatic following a conviction for serving someone under 16 years of age.

Joe O'Riordan

The Guild of Master Victuallers

Working capital is more than £1,000

I have just read "Budgeting for all the add-ons" (MA,

6 September 2007) about all the extras involved in buying a pub lease. I found it well written and nicely concise.

However, I thought that Simon Stracey completely cocked-up the working capital/contingency sum at £1,000.

In standard rent review expenditure allowance, the working capital is generally £15,000 to £25,000 depending upon circumstance. Why?

Well, when you enter into a new leasehold, you only buy the trade inventory and don't generally purchase the horrible dog-fouled carpets upstairs, curtains and minimal private catering equipment.

When you factor in the cost of curtains, carpets, private accommodation refurb, plus redecoration of some or all of the pub, not to mention new equipment such as a fridge and the expense of tarting up the garden (if there is one), paying staff and other incidental accounts, the amount easily adds up to £20,000 as a standard working capital requirement.

At £1,000, the stated total costs of £182,287 have to be considered wide of the mark.

David Morgan

DMP Asset Management,

Thornbury, Gloucestershire

The facts about PRS licence costs

Your article "Bar Group turnover up by 10% to £10m" (MA, 30 August 2007) states that the cost of a Performing Right Society (PRS) music licence has "risen significantly in the past year".

This is incorrect.

With the exception of our annual adjustment for inflation, the pub-related tariff for a PRS music licence has not changed since October 1999.

The cost for a pub to obtain a PRS music licence will vary depending on its music usage. It can, however, cost as little as 18.3p per day.

Keith Gilbert

Managing director, Public Performance Sales, Performing Right Society, London

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