Pub companies: follow-up - Business, Innovation and Skills Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by Charles Wells Ltd

  Charles Wells Ltd is a privately owned Company which has been operating a brewery and pub business for over 130 years.

  We are a member of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), Independent Family Brewers of Britain (IFBB) and Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR).

  We have been closely involved with the BBPA revised code of practice and would like to make the following comments:

    — We recognise that the Select Committee raised important issues which needed to be addressed in a constructive manner and we have been working through the BBPA to this end.

    — We fully support the BBPA's response to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS) (Lord Mandelson) on 9 July.

    — As a Member of the BBPA we are committed to supporting and funding the Pub Independent Rent Review Scheme which has been recently launched which provides a low cost rent resolution facility for our tenants and lessees.

    — The BBPA on our behalf and with our assistance has engaged in meetings with a wide range of licensee representatives and groups, followed by a mediation process. We fully support the agreement that arose following the mediation.

    — We fully support the revision of the industry framework code and are revising our own code in accordance with the timetable set out in that agreement.

    — Our own company code of practice, which is currently accredited by the BII, is being revised and will continue to form part of the agreement between ourselves and prospective tenants/lessees and a copy of the code will be provided to our customers before they sign a tenancy/lease agreement.

    — We are in discussion with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' (RICS) Pub Industry Forum group to clarify their recommendations.

  The trade press has been full of comments regarding the revised code of practice and whilst we are in full agreement with the BBPA's revised code we do think that it could be more specific about the differences between FRI Lease agreements and the three year Standard Tenancy agreements operated by the majority of the IFBB members.

  As a Member of the IFBB we believe there are significant advantages for many Licensees in choosing a three year Standard Tenancy agreement form an IFBB member and the IFBB have submitted a report to the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee which clearly sets out these advantages. However both types of agreements have their place in the market and Charles Wells operates both FRI Leases and three year Standard Tenancy agreements, under which the majority of our customers choose to operate their business.

16 November 2009

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