New Forum of British Pubs to represent operators among ‘big voices’

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

‘Healthy’ sector: the newly formed Forum of British Pubs aims to create a level playing field so all operators can have ethical and profitable businesses
‘Healthy’ sector: the newly formed Forum of British Pubs aims to create a level playing field so all operators can have ethical and profitable businesses

Related tags Beer Public house

The Forum of Private Business and ‘Pub Defender’ Dave Mountford have founded an organisation to ‘protect and preserve British pubs and the publicans who operate them’ in light of issues exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Launched on 8 June, the Forum for British Pubs says it aims to level the playing field in the pub sector by addressing what it perceives to be bad business practices and unfair behaviour, as well as creating a representative body to engage on issues relating to the survival of pubs. 

On top of this, the group will focus on further enforcing the intentions behind the pubs code legislation on top of providing an independent advisory body for the pub code adjudicator and recently established Government task force​ under the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). 

“The UK pub sector has been under pressure for many years and the current pandemic has exposed many of these issues, the fragility of parts of the sector and the need for real change,” Forum for British Pubs co-founder Dave Mountford said.

What’s more, speaking to The Morning Advertiser ​(MA​), the organisation’s managing director Ian Cass said he hoped the new body would offer a platform for the views of tenanted and free-trade pubs as well as clubs, hotels, restaurants, microbrewers and distillers, to be heard alongside the hospitality sector’s “big voices”.

“This whole piece about representing them,” he explained. “We felt we wanted to create a body that could carry that voice forward into Government.”

What will the Forum of British pubs do? 

Cass told MA​ that rather than being a pure lobbying organisation, the Forum of British Pubs would provide its members with a source of legal and business advice through email and telephone helplines in addition to offering webinars, podcasts and online resources for the on-trade in the not-too-distant future. 

Explaining the main drivers behind the creation of the Forum of British Pubs, Cass said: “One was about providing a true, representative body for tenants that pubs members at the absolute heart of it. 

“The other part of it was that tenants are going to need commercial help coming out of this pandemic, and the Forum of Private Business’s sweet spot is really businesses with between five and 49 employees where they’ve got to be compliant, getting things right and reducing their risks.

“It’s all about giving stuff back to the membership to save them money, time and look after them a bit better. That’s the real difference, I don’t think there’s another organisation combining those two things in the way that we are.”

What does success look like?

According to Cass and Mountford, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted both the fragility of the pub sector and a raft of pressures that need to be addressed. 

“We’ve got quite a simple vision for what we want to do,” Cass explained. “We’ve said that the Forum of British Pubs has been formed to protect and preserve British pubs and the publicans who operate them. 

“We want to build an industry where everyone operates on a level playing field, supporting each other in running ethical, well-managed, efficient and profitable businesses. 

“We want breweries to be doing well, we want pubcos to be doing well, we want the publicans in the pubs to be doing well – this should be a healthy industry where everybody’s doing well. 

“We’d really like to act as a bit of a conduit to make sure everybody’s talking sensibly and that we’ve got a better, healthier industry.”

Read the latest digital edition of The Morning Advertiser​ – for free – by clicking here​.

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