Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Tough Ted Tuppen Tears into Government

I have mentioned Tough Ted before. He is the boss of Enterprise Inns, one of the giant PubCos which are to many, Public Enemy Number One. Ted alleges that evidence presented to the Government by anti pub group campaigners is no more than heresay and has labelled the Government’s consultation into the statutory code for pub companies “a disgrace” and accused MPs and ministers of “deliberate distortion of the meaning of evidence” over the issue. He asked the Pub Company Summit if "we are going to let a small number of campaigners and a handful of MPs bugger up our industry?"

 Disgruntled, he forecasts a few undesirable things that will happen if these pesky complainers are allowed to get their way.  Putting aside the fair possibility that things must surely be a bit buggered now, or there wouldn't be this kind of ongoing concern by HMG about what the PubCos are doing, you can read Tough Ted's list of doom and gloom in detail in the lovely old Morning Advertiser. The main points can be summed up as: closure of country pubs; blocking the trade to newcomers; a huge reduction in investment in pubs; brewery closures; treasury tax losses. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't all of these already happen when the PubCos took over from brewers as the nation's biggest pub owners following the Beer Orders?

Now you might reasonably reach the conclusion that Ted is mixing up his buggerees with his buggerers.   To be fair, he'd have been on less thin ice if he'd pointed out the utter failure of Government intervention in the industry in the past and that the Government should therefore keep their beaks out. Of course, while true and where this mess started, the PubCos have made a bad situation worse.  Best keep quiet then as, to use his own analogy, he's buggered either way.

In the case of the PubCos, sadly, it seems like plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose!

Nearly all tenants (94%) would like to see a statutory code to regulate the pubco-tenant relationship, despite reporting improved levels of satisfaction with their pub companies accoding to an MA report. 


RedNev said...

If I were arguing his point of view, I wouldn't be claiming, as he does with such bare-faced cheek, that by and large everything is all right - perhaps just a bit of tweaking needed here and there, but leave it to the pubcos and they'll sort it out themselves. He can't ignore the fact that in 20 years of accumulating their estates, they have given scant regard to the welfare of their tenants and they have viewed the customer as having bottomless pockets. But then, so has the Treasury with the beer tax escalator.

I've pointed out before that if the price of beer had increased only by normal inflation over the last 40 years, a price of ordinary strength bitter would cost around £1.60 here in the North West.

They've had their chance and they've blown it. The problem is that the government will have to be involved in the creation of new codes of practice, even though they too have been a major part of the problem.

Cooking Lager said...

You are right to be sceptical of government intervention & Nev makes a fair point regarding these establishments appearing to be at the vanguard of offering poor value to customers. Most of the Punch/Enterprise pubs in my neck of the woods aren’t bad boozers but value is not a term you would use in regard to the prices.

A lot is said about these companies being a broken business model and they appear money pits for the unwary. One practice I have heard doing the rounds appears shady. That of a new prospective licensee being denied previous years trading figures and offered sales projections to base the rent on. A practice certain to have those able to run a business run a mile, and those naive enough to not quite be of calibre sign up to chuck their meagre life savings down the pan.

The practice of signing a lease on an old building where you are liable for the upkeep and not get a survey done to tell you all about the 40 year old heating, boiler & wiring being shot to buggary equally perplexing.

In other walks of life it is illegal to sell complex financial products to the naïve and unwary. It results in mis selling and compo claims.

Robbing recently redundant 50 year olds of their redundancy money by sharp practice under the excuse of “buyer beware” and they “knew what they were signing up to” is something the law ought to take as dim a view of as it does dodgy double glazing salesmen ripping off pensioners or banks selling complex products to those that do not understand them.

Anonymous said...

Well I've got a new Pub dish on the menu: Tuppen's wiener buggered the Pub industry & mash. disgraceful sausage!

Jeff Pickthall said...

How Enterprise attempts to ensnare leaseholders: http://jeffpickthall.blogspot.co.uk/2009/10/undercover-mission.html