I have written about my dislike of the giant Pub Companies before so was interested to hear that an announcement has been made of a new Parliamentary enquiry into Pub Company activity. It will have the remit to examine whether the recommendations of the 2004 Trade and Industry Committee report on pubcos have been followed.The key questions it will look at are:
• Has the Licensing Act had an effect on competition within the market?
• To what extent have revisions to the framework codes of practice [from the British Beer & Pub Association] met the Committee's concerns?
• To what extent are the codes applied by the Pubcos?
• Is there a need for further regulation of the industry?
Hopefully this time there will be a better look at the power of the Pubcos and their restrictive practices. The Fair Pint Campaign will be there to state the case of those who feel the PubCos operate unfairly. This has sparked off a lively debate within the trade, particularly on the Morning Advertiser forums. One wag suggested that all PubCos should have a common logo, the shark from Jaws and the slogan which heads this post. One disgruntled lease holder quoted the following:
Fact.... I placed my beer only order on Wednesday with my pubco, total £1344.24
Fact.....I then contacted a friend at a local wholesalers and was quoted for exactly the same order £981.33... a difference of 362.91. Multiply that by 52 weeks and you have a mark up of nearly £19,000 per annum, that was a small order for me. I have done the same exercise 2 or 3 times now and once it was a staggering £800+ difference.(for a weekly order)
I rather think that's a lot of mark up. No-one objects to the PubCos making a decent return on their money, but it should be shared with those who actually are leasing the business. Let's hope these monsters have their wings severely clipped.