Monthly Archives: February 2011

Barrel-Dregs, Surveyors Conflict of Interests (169)


City Pot Boy was downing a much needed Timmy Taylors in the Magpie in Bishopsgate the other evening (best pies in the City and at the back of Bishopsgate nick !) when a proper barney broke out between two of mi’ learned friends and a couple of non pub Chartered Surveyors. Basically it seems the legal profession in the shape of Solicitors Firms can act for both the Landlord and the Tenant if there is clear and distinct separation between the individuals that represent the two warring parties. Simple common sense as the Brief you hire is supposed to give his all and take no flak in giving of his best for his Client. Now you don’t want to hire a wishy washy down the middle type lawyer who will see good on both sides. You want a fighter and a winner. Well that’s the reality innit ?

Anyway, mi’ learned friends were appalled that in the pub world, you can have a Chartered Surveyor as an individual, who both represents the Pubcos, like Enterprise, Punch, Admiral etc AND also holds out that he represents Tenants. For that matter so were the other two non pub Chartered Surveyors although they upheld the right of their professional brothers in arms to do so. Then the row broke out. It ran something like this with at its heart “money talks”.

OK, so you represent, say Punch in a big legal bust up over rent. They come to you because you have a reputation for pulling all the strokes you know in promoting their case. In fact they keep coming back to you and your Firm because you have been a consistent winner for them, and the fees keep rolling. Then one day you feel totally relaxed about representing a Tenant against Punch. You stride like a colossus in the promotion of independent thinking. But hang on a cotton picking minute, are you really going to drop heavyweight all destructive guano from the Tenant, on the very same Pubco that has so generously supported your Firm for all those years ? Go figure !! Some say that a huge conflict of interest MUST exist !

The Legal Beagles got all hot under the collar as to their superior the Law Society strict rules on Conflicts of Interest. They insist that the SAME PERSON or SAME TEAM is just not allowed to have the freedom to (in turn) represent entirely opposing factions. The case in point was banged home loud and clear by reference to one Michael Napier, former head of the Law Society, a partner of the hugely respected City law firm Irwin Mitchell. The case concerned a whistle blowing barrister Michael Ford and the huge multi national oil company Exxon. Seems the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which is the Law Society’s disciplinary wing, issued a strongly worded sanction of “a severe reprimand” on their ex leader Michael Napier to his and his Firm’s shame and deep concern.(Full details in Private Eye No 1282,18th February, page 30…credit where credit is due..Editor).This left my Chartered Surveyor buddies downing their pints and confessing that their governing body, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) just don’t seem to want to operate the same checks and balances when push comes to shove. Vested interests ? Money talks ? Not very satisfactory and all that for the RICS to turn a Nelsonian blind eye to the RICS members in the pub world who have feet firmly in both camps and claim that they can be as equally Client assertive for both camps. Pull the other one. Ding Dong !!.

Which left your dear old City Pot Boy looking ruefully at the bottom of an empty pint (not for long) and wondering just why the Pubcos are so assiduously pursuing the BBPA funded and the BII promoted PIRRS rent resolution system as the greatest thing since white sliced bread. Its almost a religious fervour, at every turn, Tenants are browbeaten by Pubcos into using PIRRS to settle rent disputes. Maybe the Tenants have seen through the mists surrounding PIRRS as there were only a grand take up of five, yes that’s FIVE in the last recorded year according to the 2010 PIRRS Board report.

No smoke without fire, which reminds me, I need yet another load of ash logs for the Saloon bar inglnook. Chews ’em up like crazy, but gives a wonderful atmosphere.

Tootle Pip !

City Pot Boy. 

  If you would like to Advertise on the Site, please email us at

“This site is a privately funded website and growing in readership every day. To achieve a wider recognition the Editor would welcome cross referencing back to Barrel Dregs postings through other Blog or Websites. Information about our industry has so much greater power if more people are kept informed. Many thanks if you would be good enough to do this”.

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls. 

Alliance Online Catering Equipment – suppliers of Pub and Bar Equipment to the Licensed Industry

Barrel-Dregs, The Honey Trap (168)



It is often said that the very best contract that can be made between two independent parties is when the document is signed and locked away in a safe place and is never looked at again. Only when things go wrong is there any need for the contracting parties to have to retrieve the original contract and refer to the small print.

Property contracts are by their very nature, complicated documents, some even running to in excess of 60 pages. In the simplest of terms, the Freeholder owns the building, the structure and the land and the Lessee occupies the Freeholder’s asset. Quite naturally the Freeholder would not want to see his structural asset harmed or depreciated. In every lease contract, there is always the requirement that if structural alterations are permitted, they must be undertaken with the Landlord’s consent. The level of “consent” varies between different leases.

The problem arises with the initial interpretation of what “consent” should be obtained from the Freeholder. Say for example the Lessee decides to construct a substantial conservatory / dining room on the side of his pub and totally resurfaces the associated car park from gravel to asphalt. The Pubco / Brewers BRM is consulted, as is the Regional Manager and even the Area Director. Planning consent is sought, formal planning application notices are served on the Pubco, the ongoing work is regularly viewed and praised by all concerned, the Pubco / Brewers representatives attend the grand opening of the 80 seat conservatory and in subsequent years, national awards are made to the lessee for the excellence of food service in that new conservatory. The trade doubles as a result of the £350,000 investment into the conservatory, the new car park and the complete re-fit.

Then comes the five yearly rent review and the current BRM (not the one when the works were done) assesses the Fair Maintainable Trade on the complete building and refurbishment works. The basis is that no formal consent has been obtained from the Freeholder for the structural works of alteration undertaken by the Lessee at the Lessee’s expense. The Lessee naturally thinks that he has had full permission to undertake the works all the way through the construction process and not one single word has ever been raised against the scheme. Indeed, all he has had is praise from start to finish. Not surprisingly, war breaks out between both parties and suddenly the need is there to have to refer to the lease small print. The honeytrap has been sprung with devastating results to the relationship between Freeholder and Lessee. How was such a situation allowed to happen?

Good estate management by the Freeholder should have ensured that when the scheme was originally proposed, the Lessee should have been informed of the detail of the lease. All plans, specifications, etc. should have been formally lodged with the Freeholder right from the very outset in the process of seeking a formal Licence of Alteration. Indeed, this does sometimes happen, but all too rarely the BRM or Regional Manager through lack of property or estate management background, does not realise themselves that formal written consent is essential. Encouragement is almost always given to go ahead and spend money on the Freehold structure which in itself often considerably enhances the ultimate asset value to the Freeholder.

After the event and when both parties are now at loggerheads, it is quietly forgotten that the Freeholder can offer the facility of an application for retrospective grant of a Licence of Alteration. The recent RICS Guidelines 67/2010, paragraph 6.17 stated the following:

“Many leases refer to tenant’s improvements that have been approved by way of formal consent, such consent not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed. Such formal consent is usually given by way of a Licence to Alter or similar legal document. It will usually detail the extent of the works, possibly with inclusion of plans showing before and after detail, and will state that such works are deemed to be improvements and thus to be disregarded at future reviews. Where the works of improvement are completed, the possibility of obtaining a retrospective Licence should be considered, but not automatically assumed”.

Realistically, not every single application is authorised and approved if say, for example, the alteration works are themselves structurally questionable, or are of such a minor nature that they only constitute standard repairs and refurbishment.

What is the solution? If a scheme of structural works has been carefully and sensibly undertaken, there is no reason why an application for retrospective consent should not be straightforward and automatically succeed. Even if a rent review is in full progress, there is no harm in holding matters in abeyance until the retrospective Licence is granted. It will then be very clear to both parties what should be taken into account in disregarding the structural works concerned and their effect upon the Profits Test valuation. There can be no foundation in a Freeholder’s objection to the application being made just because the rent review is in progress. Every lease contains a clause inflicting punitive interest (generally 4% above existing bank base rates) for backdated rent, so if the rent does increase as a result of the rent review, the Landlord will not have been financially penalized for any delay.

When structural works are contemplated, always write to the Pubco / Brewer formally giving notice that the works are intended, and asking them for what detail they require in the fulfillment of a standard Licence of Alteration. Never rely upon word of mouth and never rely upon representatives of either the Pubco or Brewer who have not been formally trained in the niceties of correct estate management.

The ultimate honeytrap will have been sprung when, as so often occurs, the Lessee is informed that it is “way too late – you should have applied at the start and all of your works are now included in the assessment of fair maintainable trade”. War ensues.

Legal Eagle

  If you would like to Advertise on the Site, please email us at“This site is a privately funded website and growing in readership every day. To achieve a wider recognition the Editor would welcome cross referencing back to Barrel Dregs postings through other Blog or Websites. Information about our industry has so much greater power if more people are kept informed. Many thanks if you would be good enough to do this”.

You no longer need to go to, just click on on Google.

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls. 

Alliance Online Catering Equipment – suppliers of Pub and Bar Equipment to the Licensed Industry

John Gaunt & Partners, Due diligence.

If you cannot view this email, please click here to read it online.
John Gaunt & Partners
Due Diligence 

A recent High Court case in respect of the sale of knives has clarified the law on ‘Due Diligence’ as a defence. It is relevant to you and the due diligence procedures which you should have in place – and this is why we are alerting you to it.

The case dealt in detail with the usual three basic elements of Due Diligence, namely: –

  • Signage both for customers and staff
  • Staff training
  • Refusals records

We will not burden you with the detail of the particular case, but the essential ingredients of the ‘Due Diligence’ defence and process was stated to be as follows: –

‘The statutory defence requires proof of two elements; the taking of all reasonable precautions and the exercise of all Due Diligence. These are cumulative requirements, although circumstances no doubt arise where they overlap.

For example, all Due Diligence must be exercised in instituting a preventative regime, whereby an employer takes all reasonable precautions to avoid the commission of the offence created by the Act by his employees. However, the employer must go further and exercise all Due Diligence to ensure the measures are put in place are maintained, adhered to by his employees and continue to be adequate in the context of the risk at which the statute is directed and the nature of his own business’. [Our emphasis]

In our view, this judgment re-affirms the view that operators should regularly revisit their Due Diligence and training procedures (and be able to be seen to have done so), ensure that their procedures are adhered to and up to date, ensure that they are understood and are actively implemented by the staff involved – and in respect of refusals records, as we have previously recommended to clients, that these records are regularly assessed and reviewed, as a check on the actual workings of the system that have been put in place and on their application by all staff concerned.

If you wish to review your due diligence systems please do give us a call.

The case – if you are interested – is London Borough of Croydon v Pinch A Pound UK – [2010] EWHC 3283



Tweet Button    Facebook Like Button    Forward to a Friend

 Follow JGandP on Twitter

TrainingWe continue to run regular courses for the NCPLH, the SCPLH (Scottish equivalent) and the Award for Licensing Practioners (Alcohol) – formerly the NCLP. For details of course dates and availability, please see our website or contact Laura Mateer on
Office Address
John Gaunt & Partners
Omega Court
372-374 Cemetery Road
S11 8FT

24 Hour Helpline
0114 266 3400

  John Gaunt & Partners regulated by the Solicitors Regulation
Authority – SRA No. 173393.

© John Gaunt & Partners 2010. All rights reserved worldwide.

  Investors in People  

Waste Disposal

Waste Disposal

Do not think for one minute that the extortionate rates that you pay entitle you to free removal of your rubbish, the only concession is on your private accommodation, and that usually gets put in the commercial waste bin.

You need to have a contract for rubbish removal, unfortunately often with the company that collects the domestic rubbish.

You get charged on bin sizes and how frequent the collections are, always try to get away with the smallest bin size that you can manage with.

Compacting your rubbish can save you a lot of money.

Mechanical Compactors are not cheap, but they reduce the volume of your waste, waste is gauged by the capacity of the bin.

If you have a large site it is worth having bottle and paper banks, it brings people to your business and cuts your rubbish down.

Ensure that the opening end is against a wall, I found people sleeping in them on a number of occasions until I placed them against a wall. If you have this problem and you cannot secure the entrance door, have them removed because the ensuing mess from the people using them to sleep in is not pleasant and will cost you customers.

“Making Sense Out Of Rubbish”

The staff at Waste Handling Solutions Ltd have been “talking rubbish” for Years, as all

businesses produce waste of some type or another. The fact that a lot of companies

ignore the waste material that is produced, as a consequence of their business, is still

very surprising in the current economic climate. As:-

• Each time you handle/move the waste – there is a cost

• Each time the containers are emptied – there is a cost

• Each time an invoice is received/processed – there is a cost

Waste Handling Solutions Ltd aim is to help all business clients (large & small) identify

opportunities to reduce all of the areas mentioned and make savings. This may require

the introduction of new methods/handling procedures, but these changes can normally

be funded from the savings generated, so there is no cost to improve.

As a supplier of equipment to implement these changes, WHS has extensive knowledge

of the recycling markets and can negotiate preferential rates (on behalf of the client)

with the known reprocessors. Contrary to popular belief the recycled materials market

has recovered somewhat from the reduction witnessed at the end of last Year and also

new markets have opened for different materials (material is collected mainly in a baled

format) so it may be worth looking again at the “back of house” waste issues.

One of WHS Ltd major clients has recently installed 2 fully automatic baling presses from

the Sacria range (WHS are the sole UK distributors) and 2 polystyrene compactors, to

assist with the large volume of packaging produced from their retail sales of furniture.

The client said “the overall advice and service given by WHS was excellent. They where

thorough in their assessment of the waste streams arising and identifying recycling

opportunities. They arranged everything, including the training of our staff and now that

the machines are installed, it is amazing how much money we had literally wasted

previously. We now save in excess of £25000 per year and I would recommend any

company to go though this process”

For more information or to arrange a free of charge waste audit, then call 01454 228899

or visit,

John Gaunt & Partners, Latest updates on licencing information

If you cannot view this email, 
John Gaunt & Partners
Still a busy time for the trade! 

Following on from our last email update on 27 January 2011, there continue to be a number of new developments affecting the trade and as reported in the news section of our website. Please click on the titles below for more detail.

Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill 

This continues its passage through Parliament. The Scrutiny Committee devoted another day to consideration of the licensing provisions within the Bill on 10 February but nothing extraordinary arose. There was a passing reference to some of the licensing proposals also at the sessions held on 15 February (on the late night levy and the intention to bring forward regulations following consultation within months) and on 17 February on proposals to allow fees to be set locally, but nothing was finally determined. Trade lobbying continues and time will tell the extent to which the proposals will get further watered down. Concerns remain over many aspects of the proposals, not least the proposals for a late night levy, Early Morning Restriction Orders, the loss of the vicinity test for those wishing to comment on an application, the right of Licensing Authorities to initiate reviews and then act as judge and juror etc. For those interested, the debate which took place in committee on 10th February can be found by clicking on the title above. We will continue to keep you updated on developments.

Royal Wedding update (and Scotland) 

The Government has laid the relevant Order before Parliament to extend the hours for licensable activities in England and Wales – link above for the detail. The position in Scotland will however be governed by the views of individual Licensing Boards and operators may be well advised to make an Extended Hours application to ensure any additional hours required are at least sought. Click HERE to see more details on the Scottish Position.

Tobacco Vending Machines 

Technically the ban on these machines is due to be introduced on 1 October 2011. The proposed ban is introduced by different legislation in England, Wales and Scotland. Sinclair Collis, as the predominant supplier of such machines, continues to challenge the proposed ban and having failed in an application for judicial review recently in respect of England an expedited appeal is due to be heard in early March in the Court of Appeal. A decision on their challenge in Scotland is still awaited.

Gambling Prevalence Survey issued 

15 February saw the publication of the 2010 Prevalence Study; the last such study was issued in 2007. It is a weighty and lengthy document – link above. Those wanting a copy of our overview of its conclusions pleaseclick here . Brian Pomeroy, the Gambling Commission’s Chairman said. “The survey confirms that there are a significant and growing number of people who take part in gambling…..However, it also indicates that a small, but probably growing, proportion of the population have serious problems with their gambling. This reinforces our determination to see that gambling regulation continues to both minimise the risk to those individuals and ensure that the majority of people can continue to gamble safely.”

Occasional nudity in your premises 

The legislation covering Sexual Entertainment Venues is being increasingly adopted by local authorities but with little consistency over policy, fees applicable or approach to such venues. The legislation (where adopted) applies to all premises where there is occasional nudity (designed to ‘stimulate’) on 12 or more occasions within the year. We are noting a discrepancy between the actuality of what happens in individual premises (at – for example – stag and hen parties etc.) and possible senior management perception of what goes on. We are recommending to clients an audit of ‘occasions of nudity’ within premises and the establishment of some form of reporting regime to ensure some due diligence in this area.

The Murphy case 

An advocate general of the European Court of Justice has provided support for the use of foreign satellite football systems in licensed premises, saying that the current position breached EU Laws. However, the advocate general’s opinion has no immediate impact on the legality of foreign satellite systems and therefore the general consensus of advice is to wait until the ruling later this year before considering the use of foreign satellite providers.

Temporary Event Notices 

Click on the above to see some forthcoming events which may present opportunities for extended trading and trigger the possibility of giving a TEN. Please remember that 10 clear working days notice is required.

New Technologies 

Not content with the availability of a RSS feed from our website, or our presence on LinkedIn, or Twitter feeds, you can now follow our updates on Facebook. Where will it all end?!



Lastly – the terrorist threat 

The current threat level from international terrorism is ‘Severe’. This means that a terrorist attack is ‘highly likely’.
We have recently been alerted to the Crowded Places Vulnerability Self Assessment Tool (VSAT), which can be accessed at and which certain police forces are promoting. A risk assessment can be undertaken under the VSAT which will then help operators look at their security and risk management policies.


For more detail on these and other developments please see the news section of our website –

 Follow JGandP on Twitter

TrainingWe continue to run regular courses for the NCPLH, the SCPLH (Scottish equivalent) and the Award for Licensing Practioners (Alcohol) – formerly the NCLP. For details of course dates and availability, please see our website or contact Laura Mateer on
Office Address
John Gaunt & Partners
Omega Court
372-374 Cemetery Road
S11 8FT

24 Hour Helpline
0114 266 3400

  John Gaunt & Partners regulated by the Solicitors Regulation
Authority – SRA No. 173393.

© John Gaunt & Partners 2010. All rights reserved worldwide.

  Investors in People  

Barrel-Dregs, Opportunistic Energy Companies (167)

This is a tale from one of our experts who delves into the duplicity of Energy Companies, as always his true name will not be revealed but to add to the confusion he has volunteered to write under the nom de plume of Gaz Tricity.

One of our now clients took on a pub from a Pub Co as a TAW (Tenant at Will), in fact he would probably have been better making a Will and leaving it all to the Pub Co, but that’s another issue.

However as with all Pub Co TAW’s, Lamb’s to the Slaughter springs to mind, the Pub Co had a deal with the Energy Suppliers as this was a previously managed house, surprise, surprise!

The Energy Suppliers we cannot name for obvious reasons to protect our business, had decided they didn’t want any more pub leases and were trying to remove them or so they claimed.

Our client to be was over a proverbial Barrel of Dregs, no power, panic and was stuck with a deemed rate of 21.95p per kwh (a contracted rate would have been 9.5p per kwh). We came on the scene and immediately tried to move to another supplier as requested by the energy company originally or negotiate a realistic rate, since the rate used was straight forward usury.

Not on your life, any move was blocked by the energy supplier as our client had an outstanding debt, true, thirty days, but as everyone knows there is always a lag between meter reading and closing an account, apart from the inflated 21.95p per kwh rate being a great incentive to rip our unfortunate client off further.

This cycle of events continued for some weeks until a statutory demand arrived on our clients door step for around £11,000 along with subsequent court papers, we contacted our legal eagle to confirm the situation and legal standings of deemed rates and get the appropriate legislation in document form, as we were aware that “the big six” power companies charged around 14.5 p per kwh for deemed rates, although this is still high it was considerably less than those of the present supplier. It was confirmed to us by our legal eagle that that anyone out of the big 6 must not be unduly onerous with their prices as per the supply agreement that they originally signed with Ofgem to supply commercial electricity. As a result we filed a defence at court to ensure no action would take place without the opportunity of a hearing. This was responded to by the courts with a dismissive response, but an appointment none the less, the judge dealing with the case felt he could not understand how we could defend the claim, however after to speaking with the clerk of the court and providing them with the relevant legal documents to confirm the present suppliers responsibilities they were finally happy to accept our defence. The power company where then advised to speak with us in order to avoid court action, we managed to settle the claim directly with power company for around £6700. This was still much more than a contracted rate (should have been around £3800) but better than a £11k bill and CCJ.

The points that came from this bear a marked similarity to a number of companies activities within the industry:

Power companies will charge what they can get away with.

The courts have no history or precedent in order to make informed decisions.

The courts have no previous knowledge or understanding of utilities.

The Power companies can refuse to supply any business they choose and start a vicious circle of events.

Conclusion, we have an industry that for years had rudimentary regulation, certain Pub Co’s came in and exploited the situation to our cost, we now have the same with Energy Suppliers, they are like the Pub Co’s, National Companies who should be above reproach, service is forgotten, customer loyalty counts for nothing they all want your money, you cannot be complacent, it will cost you your net profit.

We have further stories which we will be delighted to pass to Barrel-Dregs.

Gaz Tricity

If you would like some advice, without obligation contact Anthony at Utilities Direct.

   If you would like to Advertise on the Site, please email us at“This site is a privately funded website and growing in readership every day. To achieve a wider recognition the Editor would welcome cross referencing back to Barrel Dregs postings through other Blog or Websites. Information about our industry has so much greater power if more people are kept informed. Many thanks if you would be good enough to do this”.


The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls. 


Barrel-Dregs, Lease Surrender. (166)

Barrel-dregs 2

An insight into the tricks used by some companies on Lease Surrender

 During the week ending 4th February, David Morgan of Morgan & Clarke, reported an unprecedented rise or “spike” in referrals seeking advice on lease surrender. “We had a depressing 19 separate requests for help in proposed surrenders” said Morgan. “As there are no procedural rules laid down, the enquiries were concerning dilapidations, inventory values and the ‘fines’ that Pubcos arbitrarily impose which do not seem to be totally covered in their various Codes of Practice. There is no information readily available for the procedure to be followed by lessees to assist them in what is always a distressing financial time”.

“One of the major areas of concern is dilapidations as the lessee should always be given the chance to undertake the dilapidations work themselves prior to departure”, commented Morgan. A case in example was the Old Oak, Romford where Enterprise Inns’ tenant, Ken Lebow surrendered his lease on 5th October 2010 and subsequently received a dilapidations schedule dated 2nd November 2010 – almost a month after his departure. The dilapidations schedule prepared by Enterprise Inns contained a £1,000 charge for the provision of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). “This is clearly wrong” observed Morgan. “There is absolutely no requirement or need to provide an EPC on surrender. It is only required when the property is being offered as a new lease and only at that time does Enterprise Inns have to supply the Certificate. I have also noticed this quite improper requirement in a number of other Pubco surrenders in different parts of the country”.

There is no discernible regional pattern as to the enquiries fielded by Cookseys which ranged from affluent Surrey to Birmingham, North London and rural Yorkshire. “The main problem” said Morgan, “is that there is no established set of rules as to how to apply for surrender if your pub holds no future for you. We help the best that we can, but the first principle is always to discuss your intentions as early as possible with either the Pubco or Brewer. It might make the process much less financially painful. The last thing the lessee should do is make a snap decision and throw the keys back. The inventory value, dilapidations issues and the flexible ‘fines’ are all on the table to be negotiated, certainly with professional help”.

  If you would like to Advertise on the Site, please email us at

“This site is a privately funded website and growing in readership every day. To achieve a wider recognition the Editor would welcome cross referencing back to Barrel Dregs postings through other Blog or Websites. Information about our industry has so much greater power if more people are kept informed. Many thanks if you would be good enough to do this”.

BISC, needs your submissions on the industry.

  10:51am Feb 17


If you only do one important thing in 2011 then PLEASE let this be it.
As many of you know, the Business, Innovation & Enterprise Select Committee are due to sit again before the summer and report their final findings on the disgraceful actions of pub companies. (pubcos) Their report is due in July 2011. Government will usually respond within two months of the report

Although the committee can only make recommendations to Government it is clear from the work done behind the scenes by Fair Pint and other tenant focused pressure groups (Inez Ward and justice for Licensees) that Ministers are keen to make change to a pubco ravaged sector. This is possibly our last opportunity to convince the BISC and the coalition Government that the industry is in urgent need of change. We must not waste this opportunity.

Everyone who has suffered at the hands of these awful companies, everyone who can’t make a decent living out of their pubs, everyone who has been mislead by their pubco or brewer, everyone who has lost their homes and their livelihoods to the greed of these awful companies MUST tell their story and give evidence to the select committee. We must get as many tenants as possible submitting their own story to the BISC to demonstrate that despite the ‘codes of practice’ it is business as usual behind the scenes for the pubcos and brewers who have copied their awful tied supply model.

In the coming weeks the committee will put a call out for evidence asking for interested parties to send in submissions. Your evidence can be in confidence (not published) or you can ask for it to be made public – it is entirely up to you. The committee will respect your wishes.

What to do:
– Write a submission using the template below
– Send it the BISC Now (
– Send it to the BISC once they have put a call out for evidence
– Send this email to all of your contacts within the pub sector.

Please find attached a ‘how to’ on submitting to BISC.

Call me if you have any queries.

We to try and start this off like pyramid selling and each contact sends it on to two others (or more if you know other mistreated tenants), we are also using Facebook and Twitter to get the message out.

Send on to any other tenants you know who want their say and blind copy me in, ask them to do the same to you, I would like to try and track where it goes.
Our time has now come – we can all help to make change – let’s not waste the opportunity.

Steve Corbett
Fair Pint Campaign
07946 731 117

Guidance on submitting written evidence
Submission should:
• state clearly who the submission is from, i.e. whether from yourself in a personal capacity or sent on behalf of an organisation
• be about 3,000 words in length / run to no more than six sides of A4 paper;
• as far as possible comprise a single document attachment to the email;
• begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
• have numbered paragraphs;
• be in Word or Rich Text format (not PDF) with as little use of colour or logos as possible.
Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.
It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence would send their contact details separately in a covering email in a block of text laid out vertically. You should also be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Address to:
Committee Assistant
Business Innovations and Skills Select Committee
Committee Office
House of Commons
7 Millbank London

Please also note that:
• Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this.
• Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed submission, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
• Evidence submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
• Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the Internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
• Committees do not normally investigate individual cases of complaint or allegations of maladministration.
• Once submitted, no public use should be made of any submission prepared specifically for the Committee unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee.

Here are the previous three reports:

Pub Companies Follow Up Report 2009-10
Pub Companies 7th Report 2008-9
You can find them here:

House of Commons – Business, Innovation and Skills Committee – Fifth Report

Here you can browse the report together with the Proceedings of the Committee. The published report was ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 23 February 2010.

Juke Boxes and Pub Revenues an insight into developments



We’ve come a long way from the piano-sized Wurlitzers which used to offer a dazzling selection of 200 tracks on 45 rpm vinyl records. For a variety of reasons, we’ve also come a fair way from the days when the one-armed bandit used to put a sizeable chunk of cash into the licensee’s pocket.

All pub revenues are under pressure, and the returns from AWPs and SWPs are no exception, so it’s interesting to note that there are some machines operators who now reckon that they get a better return for themselves and their sites from their jukeboxes than they get from their other machines.

The trick with a jukebox is to get the right product, so that it achieves the key objectives – to give the customers the music selection they want, so that they will stay longer and come back more frequently, and generate a useful income for the pub.

The best way to do this is to get a jukebox which is running online and this is no longer as complicated as it once appeared to be. A very large proportion of pubs have broadband on site, whether it’s installed by the brewery for other purposes, or whether it’s part of the licensee’s personal business or entertainment.

The key features to look for in an online jukebox are the massive selection of tracks, 90,000 plus, which are instantly available, and the number of updates which appear every week with the new chart music. It’s variously estimated that a jukebox without the latest chart tracks is losing anything from 30-50% of its coin box takings. If you’ve got a jukebox which also accepts customers’ requests for new music online, and allows them to create their personal play lists, you’ve got a machine which will attract more customers who will give you more repeat business.

Depending on the deal with the operator, a licensee with an online jukebox taking £100 per week, can expect to make from £1,800 to £3,000 net extra per year. Better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick?

Jay Box

February 2011


Blencathra House, Carleton,
Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 8SW
m. 07932 665 317
t. 01768 892 084
f. 01768 895 763

Smoking issues update from around the World

CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE from Freedom to Choose

ASH is furious. The longed-for Scottish display ban, scheduled for October 1st this year,has been postponed because Imperial Tobacco is taking legal action – not for the first time! Typically, ASH has thrown the proverbial dummy out of the pram, with not a care for the loss of businesses, jobs and homes such a ban would inevitably cause.

Rubbing salt into the wound, JTI, the giant Japanese cigarette manufacturers, have signed a 5-year sponsorship deal with a leading British charity, enabling thousands of disabled people the privilege of computer usage. The Leonard Cheshire Charity is what we would all consider to be truly charitable: committed to doing everything they can to help people with disabilities; financed out of good will; independent of government funding and supported by over 2,500 volunteers unlike ASH.



Congratulations from F2c to Ignacio Cubilla Banos of Cuba who, on Jan 13th, reached the impressive age of 111. Bilbo Baggins needed the services of a wizard to light up his eleventy-first but, for Snr. Banos, the company of many of his 11 children, 40 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren – and a fine cigar – were celebration enough!



Spiked editor Brendan O’Neill bemoans the triumph of healthism over art.  This time it’s Mark Twain’s cigar that’s being airbrushed from history, making American actor Hal Holbroke’s one man show, Mark Twain Tonight! increasingly difficult to stage, not only at home but across segments of Europe, too.

Holbroke might try his luck in France, where the dead hand of Evin Law has at last been lifted by a government prepared to acknowledge that:  

“The falsification of history, the censorship of works of the mind, the denial of reality must remain the heinous marks of totalitarian regimes”.  

Originally intended to prevent the promotion of tobacco, Evin Law caused outrage by robbing such French cultural icons as Jacques Tati, Coco Channel and Jean-Paul Satre of their trademark smokes.




“Before the law, nobody was complaining” 

And, staying with France, comes a report that the ban in nightclubs in the South of France is all but over. 

In a Google translation entitled Marseille: the great return of smoking in bars and nightclubs, we learn that those ‘irreducible love cigarettes’ are back on the South of France club scene because, “we quickly realized the harm she [the ban] has done.”








Expect to see more Smokers as Arsonists reports as the date for mandatory fire-safe cigarettes draws near.  The EU expects us all to be puffing on carpet glue come autumn, when the normal, fire-unsafe cigarette will become a thing of the past. 

London Fire Brigade led the successful lobby, egged-on by ASH who, if reports from the USA are to be believed, quite possibly see RIP as a promising ‘quit smoking’ mechanism.

Much research has gone into the technicalities of RIP,  virtually none into its health implications.  Harvard University found a significant increase in some chemicals already present in the processed tobacco, from which they concluded, ‘Who cares?  They’re only smokers.’




From Scotland we can report that, following Holland’s  welcome repeal, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association recently called for an amendment to the law to provide for pubs to offer smoking rooms.  No further statements have been issued by the association, which advocates the use of air cleaning technology in smoking rooms. 

Progress in implementing the tobacco display ban in Scotland has been halted by legal action against the legislation taken by Imperial Tobacco, who argued that the Scottish Government is not competent to pass the legislation.  In spite of losing at the first hearing in September, the company has persevered, and the ban will not now be implemented in October this year as planned.

Prisoners exposed to secondary smoke are reported  to be about to call the Scottish Government’s bluff by claiming damages.  Whether the Government will deny all responsibility, or open itself to unknown numbers of potential claims, remains to be seen.





Banning smoking in cars is proving popular with anti-smokers especially north of the border.  It appears to be a logical step to evade privacy issues and opens the door to stopping you smoking in your own home – as housing officials in Watford are discovering.  They propose sending tenants in rent-arrears to smoking cessation courses.  


The tobacco-display ban lobby was given a leg up by The Guardian who resurrected last November’s study from the UK Centre for Tobacco Control. This study concluded that young people’s awareness of cigarettes in shops falls in the wake of a display ban.  Gosh.  Not a bit like their smoking, then,  which carries on regardless.


Unbelievably, main stream journalism appears to be taking Third Hand Smoke seriously.  The Independent’s ‘simple tips’ for keeping the children safe: shower after smokingwash clothes immediately, do not smoke indoors…

While lazy, gullible journalists are nothing new, what does alarm is the willingness of some medical professionals  to adopt this latest ‘little white lie’ in their increasingly desperate war on tobacco. 

Chosen targets  – young parents 

Outcome – fearful, ignorant, guilt-ridden young parents.


Spain’s beefed up anti-smoker law came into effect on Jan 2nd – followed three days later by reports of widespread defiance. 

Restaurant owners are organising petitions, displaying signs that openly proclaim ‘business as usual’ and calling for solidarity within the trade.  In Spain’s current financial plight, they are justifiable fearful for their future. What a good job, then, that Spanish tobacco control group NCPT is on hand with the reassurances.  According to NCPT:  

Ireland, for example, saw a 13.7 percent increase in employment in the sector… while in Britain the number of bars increased by about 14 percent. 

This extension to the ban makes smoking in some open spaces illegal, surpassing even the EU’s demands for all 27 member states to have banned smoking in enclosed areas by 2012. 


Spain shares its problems with GREECE, another Mediterranean country on its uppers and facing a dissatisfied populace.  Greece’s extended ban has been universally ignored since September, giving rise to a brief flurry of hope that the government would launch a smoking license scheme.  The rumour was scotched within hours by Prime Minister George Papandreou, a dedicated anti-smoker, who  has enlisted an army of 800 inspectors to police this widely unpopular law.



Continuing bad news for British pubs, with both Enterprise and R&L Propertiesblaming tough trading conditions for the sale of, between them, a possible 707 venues.  The much smaller night-club/restaurant operators Cougar Leisure Propertiesis, like R&L Properties, in administration  and selling its remaining of 6 pubs and bars, all located in the north of England. 


Signs of desperation in the West Country, where the Plymouth Herald publish threeseparate pleas in the space of two days on the ‘use them or lose them’ theme, only one of which gives a passing nod to smokers. 


Continuing carnage both sides of the Irish border: 100 pubs in NI are currently in receivership whilst latest figures from the Republic cite the closure of 1,300 pubs in the last 5 years, bringing the post-ban total up to almost 2,000.


The British Beer and Pubs Association are estimating a £257m shortfall in tax to the British exchequer. “Pub beer sales have fallen by a dramatic 20.2 per cent in the past three years alone, as tax rises have hit trade.”

(Our emphasis)



British Universities’ research finds that smoking bans significantly reduce the life satisfaction of smokers who experience “diminished perceptions of freedom” and a sense of stigmatisation. Will this be considered when the Happiness Index team gets to work?

It was certainly never mentioned by a new campaign launched last month and aiming to highlight the problem of loneliness, very much on the increase for older people of whom 1 in 10 say they are ‘intensely lonely’.  The Campaign to End Loneliness believes lonely old people are a Public Health issue:

Loneliness has been shown to be closely linked with depression and research has revealed that loneliness makes it harder to regulate behaviour, leaving people more likely to drink excessively, have unhealthier diets or take less exercise.”


Loneliness, once more, lies at the root of a really serious situation developing in Ireland.

Kerry South coroner, Terence Casey, says 

“there is a trend that suggests social isolation and loneliness are at the root of a surge in the numbers of older people taking their lives… this sense of being abandoned was caused, in part at least, by the closure of traditional centres of social interaction — the local pub, the post office and a huge range of small, community-based businesses.”




Ohio; USA:  Keith and Pam Parker are among a group of bar-owners who, since August last year, have been invoicing their Health Deptartment for the cost of policing the ban.

Pam admits she doesn’t expect the Health Dept to cough up but explains:

“If they want to put in writing that it’s THIER job, not ours, then our reply will be to have one of their inspectors report to work at our tavern every day at noon.  They can’t have it both ways.”


So far there has been NO response from the authorities – so a 10% penalty has been added to the outstanding bill.

Ohio has spent $4m dollars enforcing the ban, and penalised some 939  businesses, the vast majority of which are family-run establishments and private clubs.  The bar-owners are seeking an exemption for licensed bars, which traditionally cater to smokersand are, in any case, strictly off-limits to under-21s.


On this side of the pond, it’s heartening to know that in the absence of any organised trade resistance at all, we have politicians like Philip Davies (Con, Shipley) and working men’s club member David Ward (Lib Dem, Bradford East).  Both men are willing to put their heads above the parapet in support of the people they represent.

Philip Davies is a veteran of many a run-in with the Nannies of Westminster. Here, he explains his position on the smoking ban:

“I don’t think I was sent to Parliament to ban everybody else doing things that I don’t like myself, so whatever attempts there are to amend the smoking ban to allow a pub to have a dedicated smoking room, I would absolutely support.”



Bulgaria’s Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, announces that the planned full ban will not now go ahead until 2014, giving the hospitality industry time to prepare.


Smoking is to be banned on all US submarines, despite the fact that twice as many submariners smoke (40%) than average.


China has yet to enforce a smoking ban as prescribed by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to which China signed up five years ago.  The Government is said to be reluctant to impose a ban, which was due to come into effect Jan. 9th.


A top pharmaceutical company could be facing as many as 1,200 lawsuits from dissatisfied customers who say that Pfizer’s stop-smoking drug Chantix (UK Champix) causes neurological problems, most frequently depression and suicidal thoughts.  Pfizer will contest any action.


One to make your heart bleed – Scottish MPs have been booted out of their smoking corner-of-choice after complaints from non-smoking colleagues.  “It seems like a heavy-handed approach,” bleats one vagrant smoker, horrified to find himself now exposed to the elements and to public gaze.  

You don’t say!


And finally – evidence at last that within the clipboard-wielding ranks of NHS Grampian, there flickers a spark of human kindness.  Bucking the national trend, Dr Roelf Dijkhuizen says he would like to see imaginative ways of accommodating smokers in the region’s hospital grounds, adding, 

“we should look at alternative ways of providing designated areas without forcing people to stand in the rain.”

A sentiment  shared, no doubt, by one or two MSPs!

c/o John H Baker 22 Glastonbury House, Priestfields, Middlesbrough, Cleveland TS3 0LF
Tel/Fax 0845 643 9469


 If you would like to Advertise on the Site, please email us at

“This site is a privately funded website and growing in readership every day. To achieve a wider recognition the Editor would welcome cross referencing back to Barrel Dregs postings through other Blog or Websites. Information about our industry has so much greater power if more people are kept informed. Many thanks if you would be good enough to do this”.

You no longer need to go to, just click on on Google.

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.

Alliance Online Catering Equipment – suppliers of Pub and Bar Equipment to the Licensed Industry