'Pantogate' saga masks BISC inquiry issues

By David Elliott

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Independent pub confederation, Renting, Lease

David Elliott: 'Get the right licensee in place'
David Elliott: 'Get the right licensee in place'
Interesting comments last week from Ted Tuppen regarding the Business, Innovation & Skills Committee inquiry (BISC). While calling the process a ‘political pantomime’ was probably going too far, this one-liner has led to a lot of unnecessary objections and press coverage and deflected away from a number of key points he was trying to make.

This is all a further example of how the main pubcos have lost the PR battle, especially with the Independent Pub Confederation (IPC) and its mates.

The IPC has managed to convince the various members of the committee that the leased and tenanted (L&T) model needs an overhaul and that Government intervention is required.

Firstly, well done to the IPC for such an effective campaign. However, these committee members have completely failed to understand how the L&T model works.

It is a complete nonsense that a tied tenant should be no worse off than an untied tenant and it would be commercially completely unacceptable to the freehold owner, whoever that may be.

These potential unnecessary and controversial changes, if implemented, should be resisted. Any Government intervention with potentially Draconian legislation would be challenged, if necessary in Europe, where I believe the Court of First Instance would not support the proposals.

Now I will accept that changes, especially with rent reviews, needed to be implemented and a great deal of progress has been made.

Also, I have no doubt that unless pubcos of all shapes and sizes offer outstanding support to every one of their tenants and help them build a sustainable business with a realistic income, they will not attract the quality of new operators needed to lure customers back to the pub.

A tenancy with a supportive landlord offers an outstanding opportunity for good and well-trained people to become self employed and get a realistic return on their investment and that can, and does, produce a reasonable income for both parties.

Pubcos have to go further by not trying to re-let unsustainable pubs and put a stop to BDMs appointing licensees either with little or no training and usually under-financed. That is a recipe for disaster and has caused a huge amount (quite rightly) of resentment.

Finally, congratulations to departing PMA editor The PMA Team for all his sterling work over the past 10 years. I wish him well for the future.

David Elliott is chairman at Hinton Pub Company

Related topics: Legislation

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