companies are holding tenants over a barrel sparks call for stronger
regulation of industry
LET us know if this the Forum of Private
Business are correct when they say that pub companies are holding
their small tenants to ransom. If you run a pub, let us know what
you think about the groups calls for stronger regulation of the
industry? The group in a press statment said that the not-for-profit
Forum has written to Adrian Bailey MP, Chairman of the Government’s
Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee, who are carrying
out an inquiry into pub companies, to share the experiences of its
pub tenant members, including those who have complained about the
"heavy handed and unfair treatment" they experience at
the hands of large firms.
In the press release sent on 3 August 2011, the Forum says it is now
calling on the Government to strengthen pub industry regulation to
"1. Pub companies comply with codes of practice.
2. When it comes to pub rental, a tied tenant should be no worse off
than a free of tie tenant.
3. An independent disputes mechanism is created in order to deal
4. More pub leases free from product tie are made available."
They then go on and say that:- "While industry codes of
practice have been introduced in recent years they are voluntary and
have not removed the hold many pub companies have over their
tenants, who often find themselves tied in to unfavourable contracts
and subsequently struggle to control costs. In 2009 the BIS
Committee found that 41% of pubs cited the price of ‘tied products’
as the single biggest drain on their cash flow – more than any other
Forum’s Chief Executive Phil Orford also added that:- “The
first BIS Committee inquiry took place in 2004 so pub companies have
had seven full years to improve their treatment of tenants but
little progress appears to have been made during this time. If we
are to reduce pub closures the abuses of power by companies over
individual tenants must be curbed by stronger statutory regulation,
and these codes of practice must be enforced as it seems not all
companies are complying. For example, evidence from our members
suggests that grant concessions are not being given to struggling
lease holders. In a deregulatory environment, this is one area in
which better regulation could be used to support and protect small
The Forum had said that one of the most common complaints is that
pub companies give preferential treatment to new tenants by giving
them discounts on alcohol and other products in order to help them
get started. They also believe that similar discounts should also be
available to existing leaseholders so that they can compete on price
and so that more struggling pubs are able to stay in business. Plus
they say that there can also be issues when one pub company takes
over the lease of another.
In the press release they said that:- "Forum member David
Kehoe-Pank runs the Old Vic pub in Southsea and has had particular
problems since Enterprise Inns took over the management of his lease
from Whitbread." and they say that:- "He believes that
Enterprise Inns has repeatedly been unreasonable in the way it
pursues debts, including withholding product deliveries in lieu of
In the release they add a statment from Mr Kehoe-Pank that says:-
“Every Monday Enterprise Inns’ accounts department telephones the
pub to take our beer order for the week, we are then told how much
we have to pay into their bank for rent and trade. If for some
reason we cannot pay what is demanded we do not get a delivery. On
16 February 2010 - out of the blue - we were taken to court by
Enterprise because we owed them £10,573.46 and they wanted
repossession of the pub. I was given three months to pay off the
debt, which I did. 3 weeks ago a bailiff employed by Enterprise came
into the pub at 4pm wanting £12,000 we were in debt for. He would
only accept cards or cash payment - at 4pm it was not easy to raise
that kind of money, but luckily we did. We could not get into debt
if we were getting deliveries. I think Enterprise Inns do not like
tenants with a Whitbread lease which ties us in for beer only - they
would prefer that we were tied for everything.”
The Forum the go on and say:- "In response a spokesman for
Enterprise Inns told the Forum... 'Enterprise Inns makes every
effort to support tenants in times of difficulty, including
maintaining supplies when there are payment arrears, and payment
plans for clearing debts. Debt collection procedures are only
instituted when tenants, despite our best efforts, continue to
refuse payment. Neither our support nor our debt collection
procedures are linked to the type of agreement a tenant has with
plan unveiled for Sedgemoor
PLANS have been unveiled
for a £1 million specialist dementia care unit in Liverpool.
The purpose-built facility, designed by 2020 Liverpool, will be
constructed next to Sedgemoor Care Home in Norris Green and will be
used by up to 30 people per day.
It will include a ‘Telecare’ suite where staff will be able to fully
assess people and identify the most suitable types of technology
which can be fitted at home to help them stay safe - such as sensors
and warning alarms.
The centre will also be used for respite and include a sensory room,
hobby space where people can take part in arts and crafts and a
mini-cinema which will be used to show old film reels to help with
cognitive therapy. It is part of the council’s
‘Transformation’ plan for day care services which will see 6 Health
and Wellbeing ‘hubs’ created across the city to provide help and
support for people.
Councillor Roz Gladden, cabinet member for adult social care, said:-
“This is going to be a superb facility which will offer
state-of-the-art support and care for people with dementia and their
We have an ageing population in Liverpool and all of the evidence
shows there is going to be an increased need for this type of
facility to help assist those who have dementia.
This is a significant investment in a new kind of care facility
which is completely changing the way in which we deliver services.
We are moving to a system where we are focused on meeting people’s
individual needs, rather than having to choose from a fixed menu of
social care services.”
Outside there will be a fully enclosed garden with allotments and
raised beds where people who are interested in gardening will be
able to practice their horticulture skills. The centre is
being specially designed so that each area flows in to another so
there are no dead ends where people can feel trapped. The
ranges of colours and textures used in the building have been
specifically chosen to stimulate the senses and memory.
There are more than 4,000 older people with dementia in Liverpool
today and it is estimated the figure will grow to around 5,300 by
2025. About 3 quarters of people live in the community and
are supported by carers who are family or friends.
A planning application for the facility has been submitted, and if
approved work is scheduled to start on site in January next year and
the centre will open in late summer 2012.
Work is also underway on improving Lime Court Day Centre in
Kensington, where around £500,000 is being spent to make it a
community hub open 12 hours per day, 7 days a week as part of
the Transformation proposals.
PRIVATE SECTOR PENSIONS WARNING
– UNISON RESPONSE
UNISON, the UK’s largest
union, is today calling on the government to give its backing to all
workers – in both the private and public sectors – to have access to
a decent pension scheme.
A new report today revealed that almost three quarters of private
sector staff will not be able to ‘adequately exist’ when they
retire, as they have not saved enough money*. And the government’s
plans to auto-enrole workers into the NEST scheme could still see up
to 9 million ‘fall through the cracks’.
Only last week, UNSION warned that a shocking two-thirds of private
sector employees – 15 million workers - are not in a workplace
pension to which their employer contributes. This could mean they
are forced to rely on benefit top ups paid for by the taxpayer when
Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said:- “Every person
who is shut out of saving for their retirement, or who does not save
adequately, could cost the taxpayer £15,000 in benefits top ups.
This will be a huge drain on public finances, running into hundreds
of billions of pounds.
There is also a danger that the government’s plans for public sector
pensions will price the low paid out of saving for their retirement.
This would make matters worse for the taxpayer later on down the
line – who will be forced to pick up an even larger means tested
The government must give its backing to every worker – in the public
and private sector – to have access to a decent pension. All too
often, bosses of private firms secure themselves generous pensions,
with low retirement ages, but lock their staff out of schemes.
It is the lack of decent private sector pensions that is the real
pension timebomb in this country – not the cost of public sector
schemes. Pension schemes across the public sector were overhauled
only a few years ago, to ensure they are affordable and sustainable
for the long term.”
* Report out from the Workplace Retirement Income Commission.