Fuller's chairman calls for an end to 'industry in-fighting'

By Hamish Champ

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags London brewer fuller Public house Landlord

Michael Turner, chairman of London brewer Fuller, Smith & Turner, has called for an end to what he described as the "unbelievable in-fighting"...

Michael Turner, chairman of London brewer Fuller, Smith & Turner, has called for an end to what he described as the "unbelievable in-fighting" among different factions within the pub industry.

With the next BIS report on the pub industry due within weeks and with little sign of improvement in the economy, Turner said the rows between various interest groups across the sector were "damaging the trade, harming tenants and putting customers off going to the pub".

While the industry keenly awaits the next judgement on the pub trade from BIS committee chairman Peter Luff MP, Turner said "plenty of changes in the industry were already in play", such as the recently published framework code for tenants and pubcos.

"We should let the market sort things out," he added. "If [a pubco] makes life hell for its tenants you won't have any tenants left." It was in all operators' interest to do the best for their licensees, he argued.

Turner, who is a former chairman of the British Beer & Pub Association, went on: "Consumers see all the negative PR surrounding the sector and end up thinking that pubs aren't worth going to. We have to put a stop to the unbelievable in-fighting in our industry. Tenants are being hurt and no-one benefits," he said.

He also questioned the motives of certain consumer groups who had entered the debate.

Without naming names Turner said: "Some consumer groups are getting involved but they don't appear to have a stake in the debate. The consumer is not affected, but tenants are. And the key point is, this is down to the relationship between the tenant and his or her pub company."

Turner also called for the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the next government - whoever that is to be - to refrain from adding to the duty burden on pubs and brewers after the tax had risen by around 20 per cent in the last 18 months.

"But we've no idea if the next Chancellor will see sense. We can only stick to our guns to provide an exceptional experience for customers in our pubs."

Turner was speaking as Fuller's revealed like-for-like profits in its tenanted pubs down two per cent in the 44 weeks to January 30, 2010.

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