Pub Companies - Business and Enterprise Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by Anne Hewitt

  I read with great interest your request for information from licencees regarding concerns with their pubco "partners in business" as they like to call themselves. I have several grievences with the way they operate and I shall try to outline them as briefly as I can.

  I cannot understand their pricing structure and discount system that allows them to charge such inflated prices for the beer they supply to me as opposed to the cost of buying locally. For instance if I was to buy an 11 gall of bitter through Enterprise I would be paying between £20 and £30 more than I could get it locally and this would not be buying in bulk but on a like for like basis of one barrel at a time.

  I am also at the moment on the SIBA scheme which allows me to buy cask ales from small breweries around the country but be invoiced by Enterprise for the beer, this again has a mark up of around £30 on a 9 gall against what I could buy it direct for. I have built up my trade on supplying these small brewery ales and am now well known for this, and I have to say this is the ONLY thing that has kept me afloat through the recent demise of the pub trade, however Enterprise in their wisdom are stopping this facility for me as of the 1st October thus restricting my trade and enevitably my ability to compete with other outlets in the area. I have tried unsuccessfully to appeal to them to take another look into their decision but they seem unable or unwilling to do so, and the feeling that I am getting is that they could'nt care less if I go under. I did have to wonder however if there was an ulterior motive on their part (as I have an old Whitbread lease which only ties me for beer. I don't have to have brewlines and I also have a guest pump I can purchase from anywhere) as they offered to allow me to stay on the SIBA scheme for my other two hand pumps, if I installed brewlines or gave away my right to a guest pump, both of which seem like blackmail to me. The only other alternative reason I can think of is that they want me to walk away so they can take the lease back and convert it into one of their own with a tie for everything.

  I have also had the pub up for sale, and recently aquired a buyer, they were a partnership one having the money and the other many years of experience, however Enterprise would not allow the assignment, giving about 15 reasons why not all of which were very superfluous and all of which applied to me when I took the lease so what is different now. I am unwell and wish to retire but they seem hell bent on making life as difficult as possible, and I know there are others in a similar position to me as there is hardly a pub in my area that is NOT for sale.

  Enterprise Inns treat us like wayward employees when in fact it our own money that we risk if our business fails, they have no financial outlay as we pay for all repairs and decorating costs and even have to pay there solicitors and admin fees if we should be so lucky as to get a buyer they LIKE., not to mention the dreaded delap list they will present us with. They have spent the last few years ignoring any delapidations that needed addressing and allowing assignments to go through without checking if they have been done, and now they have suddenly realised that they have a lot of properties in bad repair through there own negligence, and us poor buggers have now got to pay for their inefficiency as they have decided it's time to clamp down incase they have to spend some of their shareholders money putting things right.

  We recently read in trade newspapers that the pubco's were giving millions to tenants in help during this difficult time, well I think someone must have got mine as our BDM has had no help to offer or any constructive advice, only telling me where he is going for the third holiday of the year—I certainly have had no financial aid from them whatsoever.

  I have been fairly lucky however that our reputation for cask ales has kept us afloat, and now they are even making that more difficult for us.

  I can only hope that we never get a "partner" than really does'nt like us.

29 September 2008

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2009
Prepared 13 May 2009