Supplementary memorandum from BBPA
BIS COMMITTEE FOLLOW-UP INQUIRY INTO PUBCOSORAL
EVIDENCE SESSION 8 DECEMBER 2009 (QUESTION 134)
It has been brought to my attention that my
response to a question from Mr Clapham has been considered to
be misleading. I am therefore happy to offer my apology to you
and members of the Committee. I certainly had no intention of
Mr Clapham asked me whether I thought the PIRRS
website had been removed as a result of "pressure being exerted"
and my response was intended to inform the Committee that this
was certainly not the case. Whilst I was aware that there had
been some difficulty with the website, I was not fully aware of
the whole sequence of events. I hope I can now provide clarity.
The PIRRS website was not removed and it remained
in place whilst the difficulty was resolved. The only feature
of the website that was removed was the list of valuers and this
was taken off-line when it was discovered that not all of the
valuers, who had been placed on the list, had complied fully with
the requirement to list any conflict of interest. This was confirmed
by Mr Karl Harrison in his evidence (Q.185) which stated that
he had raised a complaint with Mr Neil Robertson of the BII who
then addressed the problem.
I do believe that such teething problems are
almost inevitable in any new venture and my use of the term "a
technical problem" was only meant to convey the fact that
the problem did not affect the operation of the scheme. The scheme
is of course now fully functional and able to resolve difficult
rent review disputes that otherwise might not be resolved amicably
in a cost-effective manner.
I trust that this provides a clearer explanation
of the matter and may I repeat once again my fullest apology if
my response was misleading.
May I also take this opportunity to clarify
the BBPA's position with regard to benchmarking.
As you will know the industry framework Code
requires companies to advise prospective tenants/lessees about
the availability of benchmarking studies (including the ALMR study).
At the time of the BIS Committee inquiry, the BBPA did not consider
the ALMR benchmarking study to be properly representative, as
it collected data from only managed pubs and also from clubs and
wine bars, which while perhaps useful as comparators, did not
provide information of much use to traditional tenants or leaseholders.
The ALMR has recognised the limitations of its
current survey and we are in discussions with them and others
as to how to make the benchmark more representative and useful
to the industry as a whole.
When Alistair Darby and I were answering questions
at the Select Committee hearing on 8 December, we were looking
at benchmarking which will help the RICS to establish guidance
in the setting of FMT. For this to work we would need information
from tenanted and leased pubs to reflect the average costs of
running these pubs which will inevitably have different cost centres
to those of managed pubs and other licensed premises. We need
to consider how we might canvass for and collect data from the
tenanted/leased sector and whether or not such data is indeed
collectable or reliable.
BBPA will be meeting with RICS later this month
and the issue of benchmarking will be on the agenda. We are also
continuing discussions with the ALMR. We are more than willing
to make progress on this once we have a chance to examine the
best and most practical way to do this in a cost effective manner.
We believe that the complexities of benchmarking
within the pub sector have been under estimated: this is an issue
that cannot be resolved hastily without wider consideration.
I hope this is useful.
15 January 2010