Pub Companies - Business and Enterprise Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by The Woolpack


  This building, as are many in the estate, is in a deplorable condition. Landlords of rented buildings usually look after the fabric. This is not the case with Enterprise Inns pertaining to the public house.

  Examples are:

    —  No hot water available on tap.

    —  Rotting window frames.

    —  Life expired upholstery.

    —  Roof leaking.

    —  Ad Infinitum.

  All this is deterring customers from coming in, ever mind returning.


  Beverages must be purchased from the pubco, ie Enterprise Inns at vastly inflated prices.

          Wholesale barrel of beer at £54.99

          And Enterprise barrel of beer at £92.44

  Similar margins are in force for wines, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages.


  Currently, cash up front is required, making supplies very difficult to come by. Deliveries from the pubco are very unreliable giving two options: Purchase through a wholesaler or travel to the depot to obtain the supply yourself requiring a round trip of 40 miles twice a week.

  Often an emergency delivery is required because of missed scheduled delivery. This incurs a cost of £45.00.

  If wet sales items are purchase wholesale, fines are levied seemingly out of all proportion to the cost differentials. An admisistration charge is imposed, £300.00 per pubco letter on the fine levy. (The banking ombudsman would have something to say about this amount).

  No discount is allowed on purchase through the pubco. No credit paid even though, supposedly allowed on supplied beer that is unfit for sale and therefore purpose.

  The above shows just how quickly a small pub tenant can mount up considerable debt to which the pubco is unsympathetic.

  The beer tie is supposed to allow a fair rent to be applied for the premises. This is not the case. Here a rent review depends on redecorating the public area for which funds are not available. Income goes to paying unjustified costs, not development.


  Whilst it is understood that this is almost universal in its application, no efforthas been made by Enterprise to provide shelter for those who wish to smoke. Other establishments are often well furnished with either basic or extravagant shelter from the elements. Result is that many customers stay away. And why has nothing been done towards the other EU members to enforce the smoking ban? IE Spain, as I noticed while there!! As we must all come under the same rules.

  A point of interest—A relative who recently had a visit to the House of Commons noted and took photos on their mobile phone of the amount of smoking that was going on, I wonder if the newspapers would like to see that!! Is it one rule for the public and one fr the law makers?


  Pubco's appear to be interested in buying, selling and renting property. They should be reclassified as PROPCOS, they have little interest in pubs as Public Houses. They have a cavalier attitude and could not care less about the running of the pubs. There are currently three Enterprise Inns houses in the Otley district newly closed.

  Pubs are a very important part of the community and fabric of the nation. There are thousands of closed pubs in the country with four more closing every week and this will rise rapidly.

  We realise that this downturn in trade is not the direct fault of the pubco's completely, but the unregulated sales in supermarkets etc, smoking ban and the lack of spending power of the public at large.

  Bureaucratic interference from Governments, local and nationalas well as EU has had a major negative influence on the trade.


  Controlling the cash flow requires control of stock.

  Quality produce and pub ambience aside pricing is the ruling factor regarding sales. The public is increasingly nor prepared to pay for pricey products. This causes cash flow problems as less cash enters the till and therefore the bank. This results in the business running at a loss for periods which get longer and longer.

  In our case the pubco were not at all concerned, in fact they made matters worse by severely restricting the business by reigning in the supply of wet sales as mentioned elsewhere in these notes.

  A pub with no beer is a sorry place indeed. This further deters customers.

  In The Woolpack's case, as debt to Enterprise increased the area managers only suggestion was to raise capital by a secure loan on my private house. This would inevitably lead to, should the downturn in trade continue, the loss of my home witout any loss of sleep to the pubco.

  It is interesting to note that after an increase in sales the pubco invariably raise the rents, itself a disincentive. A recent case locally has resulted in the untimely death of the landlord following the enforced closure of his premises which had been financed by the sale of his house. The restrictions to the trade by the pubco are relentless, insidious and cause dismay, grief and concern amongst the many with a vested interest in the pub trade, be they licensees, staff, suppliers or the very many whose lives are entwined in the pub culture which is being allowed to wither and die, uncared about by authority.


  The conduct of the pubco's leaves a lot to be desired. They should be investigated from all angles, and made to mend their ways by means of legislation if necessary.

  However, it was Government interference in the trade that brought into being the pubco's blight to this country. Politicians of all persuasions should be aware and tread carefully less matters deteriorate further.

  Finally, a few years ago there was a Government ad on television regarding "free enterprise" where businesses were not tied to suppliers, but had the freedom to buy from other sources. Does this still apply? And does it apply to the pubco's??

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