Monthly Archives: November 2011

Karl Harrison responds to Court hearing…….Brulines:



7:02pm Nov 28

Karl Harrison responds to Court hearing…….Brulines:

The Real Issues Remain Unheard and Very Much Unresolved

The triumphalist gloating and factual inaccuracy of the statement issued by Enterprise Inns plc will be, to many people, as unedifying as it is unsurprising. For most of us, it is, sadly, what we have come to expect from Mr Tuppen and his company.

The case was one between, initially, Unique Pub Properties Limited and one of our companies, which is the leaseholder at The Bedford in Balham, a multi-award winning venue in South London which, according to legal submissions by Enterprise Inns is a leading tenant and one where no allegations in relation to “buying-out” were being made. Contrary to inferences by Mr Tuppen’s company now, the case involved neither myself nor The Fair Pint Campaign.

The case was brought by Unique against us following our request, in March 2010, that the existing flow monitoring equipment (supplied by Brulines) be removed until it could be confirmed as accurate, lawful and fit for purpose. There was no amicable attempt to resolve the matter but simply the almost immediate threat of an injunction being sought – the oppressive and unnecessary approach that pub tenants have come to expect. Despite our company providing an undertaking to the Court we were forced to defend the matter and after some 18 months we have a ruling where the accuracy and lawfulness of Brulines’ highly controversial equipment remain unconfirmed, just as they were when we made our request in March last year.

The suggestion that my personal actions “fell short of the standards of acceptable commercial behaviour between landlord and tenant” is one that m’learned friends might this week be asking Mr Tuppen’s company to substantiate or withdraw lest we need to spend more time with our wigs on. The Court, of course, made no such finding about me or our company.

The ruling by Judge Behrens was disappointing and, we feel, a poor judgement on a very narrow issue. His judgement -possibly a dangerous one – finds that a clause in a lease permitting a landlord to enter on the property to install and operate equipment it considers “appropriate and desirable” does not imply that the equipment should be lawful, accurate or fit for purpose. In allowing himself to be persuaded to consider that point in isolation Mr Behrens managed to avoid having to listen to all of that complicated expert evidence that would have brought accuracy and methodology into focus for all to see. Despite the High Court having ordered months earlier that the parties could adduce and rely on expert evidence it was, quite simply, never heard at all, and never ruled upon.

We commissioned independent expert evidence from Dr Emmelyn Graham at the internationally renowned firm, TUV Sud Nel. That evidence, meticulously prepared followed detailed tests at The Bedford, showed the Brulines kit in our pub to be inaccurate and unreliable. The evidence was admitted by Mr Behrens but, due to his approach to the case, was never heard so it is ridiculous of Enterprise Inns to claim that our expert made any admission such as has they have claimed. Enterprise themselves adduced no expert evidence at all but simply provided commentary by an employee of Brulines and which was ruled inadmissible as expert evidence by the Judge. Subject to our further consideration of whether an appeal is appropriate in this case we will now also consider whether to publish the expert evidence from Dr Graham.

In this case Enterprise were invited over a year ago to take part in a joint referral of the Brulines equipment to the NMO and for that body to act as independent expert for the Court. This was not a route they would agree to pursue and instead made us and the Court wait for months for the issue of the results of testing by the NMO in a private commission by Brulines plc. As we all now know, the NMO did not conclude that the equipment was either accurate or fit for purpose and even those carefully groomed tests in lab conditions revealed inaccuracy. Seemingly in frustration, Brulines plc provided its own “in house” conclusions for PR purposes. That evidence did not form expert opinion for this trial either.

All I can find to agree on with Mr Tuppen and his company is that the whole action was unnecessary and expensive. What has been repeatedly asked from Enterprise Inns and from Brulines is that they allow, and take part in, a transparent and independent testing of the equipment in situ, in real pub conditions. Once again in this case, critical, independent expert evidence was available to the Court and Enterprise fought tooth and nail to ensure that it wasn’t heard or ruled on in any way. To that extent they were, in their terms, successful.

For the rest of the sector, crucial questions remain unanswered, the Court in this case made no ruling or finding of fact in relation to the real issues that people want to know about. Criticism of the Brulines equipment remains as valid today as before and probably moreso with the new evidence that has emerged. This rather dysfunctional case and its perhaps rather lazy result, fails to answer the critics of Brulines and the use to which their equipment is put by companies such as Enterprise Inns. As long as inaccurate equipment and guesswork is being used to browbeat small businesses and to calculate monetary consequences of perhaps false allegations then it remains essential that a proper, thorough and independent assessment takes place. Directions for that to take place within the context of this trial were there for Enterprise Inns and instead of rising to that challenge all the effort possible was thrown into avoiding any independent expert from being heard at all. For most of us, that speaks volumes. This ruling does not, in any way at all, given the Brulines system – or its use – a clean bill of health. The real issues remain, as before, very much unresolved and up for grabs.

ALMR, Fairpint and Mulholland ‘baffled’ by Government response to BIS Select Committee Report

Mulholland ‘baffled’ by Government response to BIS Select Committee Report

November 24, 2011 2:24 PM

Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, Greg Mulholland, has today labelled the Governments response to the Business Innovation and Skills Select Committee, baffling and illegitimate.

The Government committed to stick to the plans put in place by the BIS Select Committee in March 2010.

Given that the Government have come forward with a solution agreed only with the Pub Companies and their representative organisations, Greg has labelled the reforms ‘illegitimate’ as well as criticising the creation of a Pub Company funded mediation service, which is clearly not then independent.

Greg commented:

“This is a quite baffling response from the Government, considering that Ministers clearly signed up to the plan put in place by BIS in March 2010, which was to legislate and rebalance the industry if the pubcos failed to reform.

“There are clear questions of ethics here. Effectively Ministers have been negotiating with one side of this long standing dispute, without the other side even knowing about it and haven’t even consulted with the majority of industry organisations about what should be in the codes of practice.

“Quite simply, coming up with a solution agreed only with the pubcos and their representative organisation makes the reforms illegitimate and the fact that the new mediation service will be pubco funded is farcical. I suspect it will not even be used by the vast majority of tenants who will see it as yet another pubco stitch-up.

“Ministers and officials have either taken the easy way out or have had the wool pulled over their eyes by the very people so criticised by the Select Committee. The response does nothing to address the fundamental point about the unfair share of turnover pubcos take from pubs, which makes it impossible for many tenants to make a living, even when their takings are at a decent level.

“Ministers have either misunderstood the problem or hoped it will go away, they are wrong. The Save the Pub Group will campaign for reform and will of course continue to push for real change and we will use all means at our disposal to do this”.

ALMR Press Notice

Championing Pubs & Bars – the Voice of the Operator

24th November – immediate

Government warned reforms are a starting point only – not the whole answer

Consultation must be driven by tenant-led approach says leading operator trade body

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has today expressed disappointment at the news that the Government has decided not to consult on the introduction of a Statutory Code of Practice to regulate the behaviour of the major pub companies. The decision came in a formal response by the Business Secretary to the Business Innovation and Skills Select Committee Report on Pub Companies.

Kate Nicholls, ALMR Strategic Affairs Director said:

“We are obviously deeply disappointed that the Government has chosen not to follow the Select Committee’s route map to lasting, meaningful reform. We still believe that the options laid down by the Committee represent the best means to deliver that and today’s announcement can only be a partial solution.


Ministers have mapped out an alternative route but hand discussion over the content of the Code back to the industry. This is critical and it must be rapidly and significantly strengthened and enhanced if it is to become a genuine industry document. It is also key that we clarify as a matter of urgency how Company Codes – as distinct from the Industry Code – are to be monitored and enforced. Failure to do so will mean there is a very real danger that the major pub companies will face less onerous obligations than they do at present”


The Government has negotiated with the BBPA to enshrine the Industry Framework Code of Practice in law and provide low cost mediation to tied pub operators. Two new services will be set up to provide free advice to perspective lessees and a Conciliation Service for current lessees.


Kate Nicholls concluded:


“Today’s announcement can only be a starting point and – as we have consistently stated – we stand ready to work constructively with any and all parties to ensure it addresses the outstanding and substantive concerns of existing lessees which are not addressed in today’s proposals. ALMR intends to lead a debate on a tenant-driven agenda to secure what tenants want and need from a Code and an enforcement and compliance regime.


More can and needs to be done at an industry level to complete the package of reform – without that, the industry will not be able to draw a line under this most intractable of disputes and provide the much needed certainty and stability lessees need to invest, thrive and deliver the best consumer experience.”


“The Governments response today puts the final nail in the coffin for thousands of tied publicans who have been clinging on to their businesses for the last few years. The light at the end of the tunnel has been extinguished and the industry thrown back into darkness with no material changes being offered to resolve the issues suffered by the pub industry.
The Government policy to help small business is a distant memory, greed of big business prevails and once again, their executives arrogance and complaisant attitude to due process being rewarded and the small businesses and consumers having their faith in democracy shattered. The BBPA have managed to pull the wool over the Governments eyes in a last ditch effort to keep the gravy train on the tracks a little longer. Despite several urgent requests for a meeting by the Independent Pub Confederation, the Government failed to meet any of the industry or campaign groups representing tenants before cooking up their desperately inadequate response with the BBPA which is demonstrated by its one sided nature, failing to address any material issues.


It seems the Business Ministers, Vince Cable and Ed Davy, have missed the point entirely, paid lip service to the select committees recommendations, and their own promises, and effectively demonstrated that the last seven years of inquiry was a pointless and time consuming exercise. The select committee undertook an in depth detailed examination of the industry. The Government promised they would rely and act upon the committee recommendations. Today’s ineffective response amounts to a U turn on their commitments and policies. If Messrs Cable and Davy are going to make their own decisions on behalf of Government, with no inquiry of their own, regardless of the select committees recommendations, then they have demonstrated that the process of All Party Parliamentary Inquires is a waste of taxpayers money and MP’s time.

Rather than resolve the industries issues the response has merely fueled the fire of discontent, the war rages on in an industry that desperately needs material reform before it can begin to unify and rebuild once again. The future of the Great British pub remains bleak.

The prisoners are to write their own penal code, again, and have now managed to convince Government that they should be judge and jury of its implementation ! The suggestion of the BII as any kind of industry umpire will be laughable to many publicans given past performance and only supported by the parties pulling their strings. Many of those remaining Fair Pint Campaign steering group members with BII membership will be relinquishing their membership and concentrating their efforts on evolving into an effective tenant advisory service, “Fair Pint 2”, in collaboration with enlightened MP’s, like Greg Mulholland, and unconflicted industry organisations, experts and lawyers, an organisation truly independent of the pub companies and continuing the fight until the tied publicans of Great Britain are treated fairly.


All publicans should be forever grateful to the MP’s and Ministers who took the time to fully consider the naked truth of the industries problems, sadly the democratic process has severely let the pub industry down today. The Government response appears to fly in the face of select committee recommendations and undermines their very purpose which must be a huge disappointment to those members who worked so hard over the past years to come up with a sensible solutions.

The recently announced Back Bench Business Committee debate on the 6th December 2011 will be even more important now and we urge all publicans to write to the local MP’s as a matter of urgency encouraging them to condemn the Governments recent response and vote at that debate in favour of significant and material reforms that will truly make a difference to tied publicans and offer a fair and free future to the Great British pub.”

JFL response to government proposals

JFL response to government proposals

Posted by Inez Ward on November 24

Press release: For immediate release

The inadequate and disgraceful government response to the BISC report has hammered home the nails into the coffin of the Great British pub and will cause a distinct lack of revenue to the national economy at a time when it can ill afford it, will massage the ever growing unemployment figures and cause an increase in reliance on benefits and social housing. It is totally unacceptable that departments of this government appear willing to add to the problems of this great nation by it’s perceived lack of fore thought, lack of thorough investigation, lack of fairness and justice, lack of action and once again to appear to pamper to the corporate culture.

JFL would like to thank the various select committees for all their hard work and due diligence, we would also like to thank all the MP’s who have seen the spin, smoke and mirrors for exactly what they are, they deserve to be applauded. It is disappointing that the ministers did not appear to show such hard work and due diligence!

JFL is concerned to learn that the government are relying on the evidence of the OFT. Is it really that hard to grasp the simple ideology that if rents do NOT equate to taking into account the cost of the tie then there is going to be an adverse impact on the consumer, it really is that simple and that is what we are seeing, why is it so hard to understand this? We are disappointed that this government have failed to take into account that closure stats do not give the full picture as they fail to give the figures for business failures and the reasons for the business failure, this shows a distinct lack of transparency, we would therefore maintain that they should not be relied upon when making such important decisions which will impact on licensees, consumers and others reliant on the British pub. We are extremely concerned to learn that government has held intensive discussions with this industry and would urge them to make clear exactly whom in the industry they have held intensive discussions with. Surely they should have been holding intensive discussions with all stakeholders if they were indeed mindful of their pre election promises for fairness and justice? We are not so sure that this is the case at all and would welcome further clarity. We are disappointed that this government do not feel that Brulines equipment is ‘in use for trade’ when legal opinion clearly shows differently, we would urge this government to make clear exactly why and how it is not ‘in use for trade’.

It is beyond disappointing that this government feels that the pubcos and their entourage are capable of self-regulation, evidence shows that they (the pubcos) have failed significantly in this area, evidence shows that they have found to be significantly wanting, they have had years to reform and self regulate and have failed on a monumental scale to the detriment of the licensees, the consumers and the pubs of this land. Even more abhorrent is the fact that they are allowing the pubcos and their entourage to write their own regulations, would they allow prisoners to write the penal reform code in it’s entirety, would they allow the criminal underworld to write the laws of this land, what’s the difference?

Inez Ward, founder of Justice for Licensees said ” today is a very sad day for this wonderful industry. We applaud all those who have helped wield the sword of truth, but are bitterly disappointed that this government have failed to see the reality of the situation from a grass roots level. The Great British pub is so much more than somewhere that just sells alcohol and it deserves better, much better, it deserves honesty and transparency at the very least, it deserves support rather than decimation from within the trade and it deserves the support of this government. Over half of the pubs in this land fall under the tied leased model and it is high time that this government stuck to it’s pre-election promises, wishy washy compromises will not stop the unacceptable practices that are apparent.”…

Spread the word. Every invitation counts:

Category: JFL

The learned Ted Tuppen strikes a blow for the Industry, Barrel Dregs (213)

Enterprise CEO at his glorious best

The learned Ted Tuppen has never been one to mince his words.

This time in the Morning Advertiser report he has finally seen the light and struck a blow for all his lessees and tenants.

At the BSL’s conference he expounded his ideas about the recent and past BISC’s referring to them as a Political Pantomime.

By voicing his opinion in public he has done more towards bringing in Statutory Legislation to control Pub Co’s than all the presentations and petitions to Paliament that licensees could possibly hope to raise, the MP’s involved are incredulous at such total disregard for their august body and it’s considerations backed by far too much evidence supporting compulsory legislation.

Keep talking Teddy Boy, wonderful stuff, I’m sure your staff are cringeing with embarrassment, you’re doing a great job.

We support you with your words of extreme wisdom.


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






This weeks classic statements by BDM’s and BRM’s, Barrel-Dregs (212)


Pub Co management at it’s most intelligent

The following statements have to have an award for crass stupidity.

1. The REO is that person who can trade an outlet to the very maximum of its capability and would be prepared to speculate on and optimise the total site investment/spend to so achieve that headline trade.

The definition of REO by the RICS is a Reasonably Efficient Operator, reasonably and efficient being the keys words, not a retail magician in the middle of the worst recession most businesses have ever encountered. The learned idiot had just had an intensive course on being a better BDM, it lasted half a day.

Editorial Note:-Collins and Oxford dictionary definitions of “reasonable”, ie; modest, ordinary, nothing very special, in fact Mr Average. However our learned idiot in question, might like to consider the fact, that if every lessee was a Retail Magician, they would all be underperforming because there is not the business available, as any good Economist will tell you.

 2. If you didn’t pay for the works,and a previous tenant did, we are quite entitled to include the works in our rent assessment. There was no cost outlay to you.

Same BDM, the lessee had bought the lease from a previous lessee and had paid accordingly for everything, including all the improvements during the lease period, this Moron had obviously no knowledge of the RICS Guidelines or basic commercial law, strange I thought a half day course would have covered that.

3. If you don’t agree with the carefully considered Enterprise Inns rent proposal, you are obviously being controversial and thereby confrontational.

The new RICS Guidelines had been totally ignored in every respect or maybe this BDM’s half day course omitted that relevant fact.

4. For your further information I asked P….. C………. why he had not allowed for wastage when calculating my GP in my rent review – his first answer was that wastage was “over exaggerated” – his next answer was for me to “prove that there was not 288 saleable pints in a 36 gallon cask”.

This Buffoon has obviously never run a pub and has no understanding of beer wastage, the brewers make their profit out of the beer that’s thrown away , like Colman’s Mustard left on the side of the plate, except Colman’s accept the wastage as a fact. In addition I have had a number of barrels that been short for a variety of reasons without the wastage factor coming in to it.

Editorial Note:-The BBPA Charter specifically requires that the Field Reps of all their members Companies follow to the letter ALL the RICS regs.Its there in black and white, “Oh Dear we have dragged poor old Brigid back into the Fray!”

5. I had one of EI’s BDM’s tell me that he knew far more about running pubs than I did, the first time that I met him and he didn’t know me from Adam, sometime afterwards he had to eat his words, it made me feel good.

Cellarman, South West

There is a great expression, “They walk among us”, sadly far too many in this industry.

Send us your BDM’s outrageous statements and we will publish them, we can’t put names with statements, but we could make a list of contributors.

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.





Where have all the Pub Revolutionaries gone? Barrel-Dregs (210)

Where have all the Pub Revolutionaries gone?

Cast your mind back a while. You remember the ‘revolution’, don’t you?

Rent strikes, buying outside the tie, marches and placards; we were going to bring the pubcos to their knees, weren’t we?

So what happened? Did the insurrection merely fizzle out or is all still alive and well?

In a bid to find out, I got in touch with a few contacts in the trade, eventually being given the phone number of a supposed ‘militant’.

During the course of a brief phone call, I was instructed to take the 15.45 train to Welshpool the following day and given assurances that someone would be there to meet me.

Large flakes of snow were falling as I stepped onto the platform of Welshpool train station. A man appeared, seemingly from nowhere and beckoned me to follow him.

Once in his car, he passed me a blindfold. “I’m sorry” he said, “you’re going to have to put this on. We can’t afford to take any chances”.

Somewhat reluctantly it must be said, I complied. During the course of the journey neither of us spoke and after what seemed an eternity, the vehicle came to a halt. A request for my blindfold to be removed was ignored.

We continued our journey on foot, crossing some fairly rough terrain before a shove in the back forced me to the ground.  Someone barked out an order and the blindfold was removed. As my eyes slowly grew accustomed to the dim light, I began to take in my surroundings.

We were in a cave that much was clear, in the presence of what appeared to be a group of renegades and bandits. All were sitting around a camp fire and eyeing me with a great deal of suspicion, their hostility all too apparent.

More worryingly, they were brandishing a vast array of weapons. It was clear these guys meant business.

One particularly fearsome looking individual stepped forward. He wore an eye patch and had what appeared to be a Kalashnikov slung over his shoulder.

He proceeded to pull out an exceedingly large knife which he looked at adoringly before glaring me in a manner which suggested I was about as welcome as Giles Thorley at an       AGM of Punch shareholders.

“Who are you?” he hissed, “What do you want?”

His tone was menacing. Any confidence I had in retaining any meaningful control over my bodily functions dissipated there and then.

All sorts of possible scenarios involving the knife were going through my mind, none of them pleasant.

He stepped forward, the blade glinting in the light of the fire; “Errr……..there’s no need for violence” I stammered. His expression left me in no doubt that my protestations had fallen on deaf ears.

It was clear this gentleman was about to do something which involved a great deal of pain. It didn’t take a genius to work out who the beneficiary would be.

Just as I felt myself succumbing to a bowel malfunction, an object in the background caught my eye. It was a dartboard!

Peering through the gloom, it was apparent that something had been nailed to it. As my eyes became accustomed to the murky light I suddenly realised what it was.

No surely not. It couldn’t be, could it?

Unless I was very much mistaken it was a picture of Brigid Simmonds!

The sense of relief was indescribable. I was amongst friends. These guys were on our side!

‘Oh God’, I thought to myself; ‘Thank you! Thank you! Oh God, thank you!’

I turned to my would be assailant with renewed confidence. “My name’s Bob” I said “and I want to be a militant”.

With the knife inches away from a particularly vulnerable part of my anatomy, the rebel leader paused. Then, to my immense relief, a big smile broke out across his face.

He picked me up and gave me a rib breaking bear hug before apologising profusely for his behaviour. Apparently, the group had received a tip off that I was a pubco spy.

His name was Che, former landlord of the White Horse in Doncaster. He’d been evicted from his pub for having the audacity to question why rent constituted 41% of his annual turnover.

Over a dinner of roasted sheep the remainder of the bandits introduced themselves. All were ex-pub landlords and each had a harrowing tale to tell. They’d taken to hiding out in the hills because of increased pubco surveillance.

They informed me that venturing out during daylight hours was not an option. “The pubcos track our every movement on satellites” Che explained, “even our e-mails and mobile phones are monitored”.

Another of the renegades told me that the pubcos had recently acquired drones; these were being used to detect illicit barrel deliveries.

As we sat there chatting, it occurred to me that these discussions would best be conducted with some drinks in our hands.

“It’s dark outside now”, I said “so why don’t we all go down the pub, get some beer down us and talk about militancy?”

My suggestion was met with much head shaking. One of the group explained that the nearest pub had closed down several months earlier. The pubco had called late one evening to do a stock check and found a J20 that couldn’t be accounted for; the landlord hadn’t been seen since.

So, we contented ourselves with sitting around the fire and exchanging tales of pubco abuse. I savoured their hospitality, camaraderie and friendship. It reminded me of just how many wonderful people there were in this industry, all of whom deserved so much better.

As the evening wore on, I felt a growing sense of admiration and respect for these guys. Amidst all the tales of misfortune and woe it was clear they possessed a determination and solidarity that would not be easily broken; I found that immensely reassuring.

Eventually it was time for me to leave. As we hugged and said our farewells, the group asked me not to forget them.

“Tell your readers not to believe the pubco propaganda” said Che, “we’re not finished. The fight will go on for as long as it takes, we’ll never give up.”

“Do you have a message for Bob Neill, our community pubs minister?” I asked.

“Yeah” said Che, “tell him if he doesn’t do something to stop pubco abuse I’ll personally come down to Westminster and cut his bollocks off.”

“I’ll tell him.” I replied, “I’m sure he’ll be glad of the feedback”.

I was driven back to Welshpool under the cover of darkness and caught my train to Birmingham. The journey gave me an opportunity to reflect on the day’s events.

One thing was clear; the commitment of Che and his followers wasn’t in doubt, their belief in the righteousness of their cause absolute. Continuing revelations of pubco abuse only served to stiffen their resolve.

Whilst the ‘rebels’ are hopelessly outgunned, they possess an indomitable spirit, one that won’t be broken easily. It is their greatest asset against a formidable ‘enemy’; one who possesses a seemingly infinite array of resources.

Critics of course would argue that those clamouring for reform produce a great deal of noise but little else.  I would suggest that even if the net result of their endeavours amounts to nothing more than an elevation in noise levels their contribution remains invaluable.

After all, there appear to be a growing number of people out there urging us not to make a fuss or raise our voices. With all that ‘whingeing’ and ‘complaining’ going on someone might get the impression something’s wrong. We wouldn’t want that now, would we?

Noise draws attention to things, suggests something is seriously amiss; invariably resulting in heads turning, awkward questions being asked. Consequently, the long running campaign for reform has resulted in the drinks industry coming under scrutiny like never before.

Mainstream tabloids are finally peering into our world. Last year a piece in the Daily Mirror entitled ‘Tale of two exits from Enterprise Inns’ illustrated the extent to which the questionable standards prevalent within the drinks industry are being acknowledged in the wider public domain.

With MPs considering intervention, that momentum must be maintained. Noise is exactly what we need at the moment, lots of it.

The other evening a song entitled ‘Pump up the Volume’ by M.A.R.S. came on the radio. I recall thinking that it seemed a very appropriate theme tune for our cause.

Will it result in politicians finally getting on the dance floor and strutting their stuff to the funky beat of reform?

Only time will tell. One thing is for sure. Thanks to the tireless endeavours of people like Che and his band of rebels, none of them can be in any doubt as to what the real issues are.

The only question remaining is whether or not MPs have the courage to act.

Let us all pray that for once they do!

Viva la revolucion!

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.


First Aid where you need it with CPL

First Aid where you need it with CPL


Fed up with having to send staff miles away to get their Emergency First Aid certificate? CPL Training has announced local venues for scheduled courses over the next year meaning less time away from work – and less cost to employers.


The one day courses will initially run in Birmingham, Brighton, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Ramsgate throughout the year with more locations to follow. Each Emergency First Aid at Work course delivers the required training in only six hours. Heart attacks, fractures, burns, resuscitation and control of bleeding are just some of the essential areas covered.


Every business has to have an appointed person and a trained first aider, the CPL course covers both areas and the same person can take on both roles. All instructors are fully qualified and each delegate receives a comprehensive course book as well as a certificate on passing.


Larger companies can also elect to have training delivered on their own premises if they have significant numbers.


Places are limited on the scheduled courses, so please call to find out about availability in your area. Further details can be obtained from CPL on 0151 650 6910 or at





Editor’s notes.


CPL Training

CPL Training Limited is a leading provider of training and education services to a global client base and the UK number one trainer for the hospitality sector.


E-learning is delivered via an in-house designed platform which currently hosts all main compliance training as well as many courses seen as added value such as the bribery act. There is also the opportunity for clients to have bespoke courses built for them and the platform currently hosts a number of induction courses and other sector specific material, for example care sector courses.


CPL Training offers scheduled face to face courses at over 70 locations across the UK and this year will see expansion of the number of courses available as well as the type with the growth of work based learning – apprenticeships – and delivery of the government Work Programme.


Further information is available from Paul Chase, Director, CPL Training

0151 650 6910

CPL Training Ltd |Egerton House | 2 Tower Road | Birkenhead | Wirral | CH41 1FN

Tel: +44 (0)151 650 6910  

Freedom to Choose, Monthly Newsletter, a mine of info on Smoking Issues

November Newsletter

Posted: 13 Nov 2011 01:00 PM PST

We are back online after a most difficult time where we found out that our original hosts had been incorporated into another company, which in turn became part of another…..too much to go into. Very complicated!

Safe to say that after a lot of extremely hard work by our technical team, and friends of, we are back, large as life and continuing to drive a great big wedge into the very hearts of the anti smoking brigade.

Thank you all for your patience.

Chairmen’s Messages

It was a delight to attend Freedom2Choose’s AGM in Leicester, very well arranged by young Phil Johnson and well attended with some good debates and points made.

It was also my pleasure to take on the Chairman’s role and we have some particularly interesting projects which are under way. These include working with the Shisha bars and an enquiry from a number of politicians… more to follow.

It is also good to see a number of new active members. If anyone has any advice, gripes or points – you can reach me on:


Roger Helmer

You will now all be aware that our great stalwart and honorary member Roger Helmer is stepping down from ‘banging his head against a brick wall’ in Europe. Roger may be retiring from EU life but not from fighting for what he believes in – our freedoms!

We wish Roger the best of luck back on home soil and are very pleased that we will now have more access to his valuable services – grandchildren permitting. Good luck Roger.

Phil J


A Tale of Two Councils

There is a wide variation in how the localism bill is being interpreted and applied across the country, the extremes of which can be found by examining the tobacco control workings of two north-west of England councils: Wirral and Blackpool.

Wirral Council would like to ban smoking in all outside parks. The talk is of ‘voluntary’ bans, but with a promise to, “look at powers under the Government’s up-coming Localism Bill to make these legally enforceable.” So, not ‘voluntary’ at all, then.

Blackpool looked set to follow suit, especially with reports that its council had already started with the ‘voluntary’ Please Don’t Smoke Around Here signs. However, a Freedom of Information request sent by one of our F2C members yielded the following response:

This accords with another Blackpool decision taken last month, when Council leader Simon Blackburn announced the end of segregated smoking/non-smoking areas for pavement pub/restaurant tables.

Smoking causes TB

Not exactly an objective critique from our very own ‘impartial’ BBC here.

Especially as the time saved by not referencing the article, could have been spent finding a scientific point of view from beyond the Tobacco control industry.

Smoking rates

“Anti-smoking measures making no difference to smoking rates”, reports the Irish Times in a recent article.

Of course this headline reflects not just a reaction to the smoking ban in Ireland, but more an ongoing symptom.

At a recent Dublin forum on obesity, Dr Tony Holohan said smoking was still at the same level as it was before the introduction of the ban.’

“We really haven’t shifted prevalence of smoking by any appreciable extent beyond what it was prior to the implementation of the ban; we are at about 28 to 30 per cent.”

Ireland of course is no exception to the rule, In Italy, despite an initial reduction in smokers post-ban in 2005, the level of smoking prevalence spiked considerably.

Then of course in England, a steady decline in smokers since the war was abruptly halted within a year of the introduction of the blanket smoking ban.

The increase in prevalence is further indication of smoking bans not being about health. NRT consumption has increased, yet smoking prevalence is on the rise or certainly not reducing. The only obvious beneficiaries of bans are Big Pharma and their anti-tobacco industry.

Cameron back on fags shocker!

“The yearning has gone,” said David Cameron in 2008. Like lots of things he said, he probably meant it at the time, little realising how different everything would be once he became Prime Minister. The real shocker is that even Deborah Arnott thinks it’s okay for the PM to smoke.

“Being PM is very stressful and I’m not surprised David Cameron has reverted back to smoking”, said the ex-smoking Director of ASH.

Something else our PM once said was, “We’re all in it together,” the ‘it’ in this context clearly nothing to do with smoking shelters.

Rhetorical question: In which one of these two smoking shelters would you be most likely to bump into ‘all in it together’ Cameron?

Camel Dung, Sawdust and Rat Droppings

Facts and figures galore on the subject of smuggled tobacco, which the BBC says:

Is unfailingly laced with camel dung, sawdust and rat droppings.
Is even more harmful to health than the most harmful-to-health thing in the world.
Bites into the profit of honest retailers – some of whom then fall into dishonest ways.
Costs less than half the price of legitimate tobacco.
Accounts for 1 in 9 of all cigarettes smoked in the UK.
Loses the treasury £2.2bn per annum in unpaid taxes.

Smuggled tobacco is especially popular in Northern Ireland, where it ‘costs’ the treasury £85m each year. This is a disproportionately high sum from just 3% of the UK population, who achieve it by ensuring that 1 in every 6 cigarettes smoked is a taxfree cigarette.

Next door, in the Republic (1 in 4 cigs), The Irish Heart Foundation denies any relationship at all between taxation and smuggling. By their reckoning:

…further increases in tobacco taxation would also produce substantial benefits to the public finances – ranging from just under €50m per year for a 50 cent rise, €96 for a €1 hike and €165m if tax was increased by €2. Extra tax take would account for 70% of the total, with the remainder accruing from indirect benefits such as reduced health service spending, reduced net spending on benefits, and increased revenue from direct and indirect taxes due to longer working lives and reduced workplace absenteeism.

Perhaps in readiness for workforce cuts facing UKBA, the help of storage-unit owners is being sought in the fight against large-scale tobacco smuggling.

And, down at the messy end of the smuggling chain, Independent reporter Matt Blake joins customs officials and the police for a ‘tab-house’ bust in the south of England while, in Doncaster, two dishonest retailers are jailed for a total of 11 years for ‘costing’ the treasury £985,000.

Mid-week Baccy Cruise : 6th – 8th December

P&O Ferries

Two shopping trips for the price of one!
Save money AND enjoy some lively company!

What’s not to like?

See Nothing 2 Declare* for instructions on how to book and much else besides.

* the blog, not the travel agent – there isn’t one.

Global Lunacy

CANADA Single-minded cynicism from the tobacco controllers of London, Ontario, who say that a poster campaign launched by the Ontario Convenience Stores Association is nothing less than a cheeky attempt to beat the display ban.

The posters warn of the dangers of contraband cigarettes, including the rat droppings, but their evil, subliminal message is not lost on tobacco control manager Linda Stobo, who wails, “They are promoting tobacco use. They are promoting a product.”

USA Since Macon city mayor Robert Reichert vetoed the ‘Heart of Georgia’ city’s smoking ban last April, health activists had been busy tweaking their demands, assuming that a little compromise would earn them support from the Council’s Public Safety Committee – but it didn’t.

Overriding the PSC’s decision, they then tried, unsuccessfully, to force a vote at city Council level. Despite the fact that the ban did not even make it onto the agenda, a number of bar owners took the opportunity to speak out against the ban, anyway.

Anti-smoking councilman Larry Schlesinger sees this as, “probably a major set back at this point”, and, undeterred, will continue consulting, “about any other measures to advance the smoking ban.”

AUSTRALIA After prevaricating throughout October, the Australian Upper House has finally approved the law that will see all cigarettes sold in unbranded, drab-and-ghastly packaging. Tobacco companies are expected to sue for the loss of trading rights but, on the bright side, plain packaging puts Australia right at the top of the anti-smoking world championship league.

For sanity, one must turn to the Australian minister for Mental Health, Helen Morton. The total ban on smoking in all mental health hospitals has been a disaster, sitting uncomfortably with almost everyone involved with the mental health system.

Carolyn Smith, Assistant Secretary of United Voice, the union representing hospital staff, said:

“The smoking ban has resulted in increased health and safety dangers on wards for both staff and patients, including rooms burning down.

“This is on top of increased medication use on patients to cope with the issue, increased aggression including verbal and physical abuse towards staff members just trying to enforce a failing policy, and negative effects on the therapeutic relationship between nursing staff and patients.

“Are members happy that the Government has folded and seen common sense? Of course they are.”

The submission to lift the ban from mental health hospitals is expected to sail through the upper house in December, ready for enactment next year.

Smoking – Not All Bad Shocker!

The Telegraph’s resident doctor, James Le Fanu, breaks ranks to write about the therapeutic benefits of smoking. Yes – you read that right – smoking! He does, however, suggest that the same benefits may be had from nicotine patches, as an alternative to taking up the real thing.

The Pub Trade

Despite the added boost of hot weather in September, which resulted in better-then-expected sales for leading pub and restaurant chains, our snapshot of Britain still depicts a depressingly familiar pattern of pub and club closures. Whether it’s Cambridge, Devizes, Bristol or York, a growing number of communities are finding themselves without a conveniently local ‘local’.

Ted Tuppen of Enterprise Inns is praying that the snow gods, who wiped £2 million off last year’s Christmas profits, will be kinder this year.

“It’s been a depressing trading environment for pubcos during the past two years, as a smoking ban, recession, above-inflation increases in beer duties and cheap alcohol offers in supermarkets led to time being called on a record number of watering holes.”

In Northampton, October saw the demise of two long-standing clubs: the RAF Association (RAFA) club was reported to have ceased trading 17th October, while the Conservative Club is hoping to relocate to a smaller venue. Between them, the clubs enjoyed a tally of 760 members. Both clubs lay much of the blame for members falling inactive on the smoking ban. Meanwhile, a third club, the Far Cotton WMC with 500 members, is struggling for survival.

Clubbing of a different kind – and news that the country’s biggest nightclub operator is going into administration. Luminar, which employs 3,000 people in 75 nightclubs, has run out of funds; its shares were suspended at 0.7p, down from a high of 850p ten years ago.

The massive Rank Leisure group is faring better, with swings (on-line gaming), roundabouts, (casinos) and slides:

“Rank said its 11 Spanish bingo halls continued to suffer following the country’s introduction of a smoking ban, with revenues down 19 per cent.

“Looking forward, it warned that the outlook for UK consumers was likely to be ‘more challenging’ in 2012.”

Two reports of collateral damage:

The Kimberley and Eastwood Advertiser asks: ‘Will pubs closing affect charities?’, and estimates that – yes it will. The charity sector is down £104,000 a year in bar-top charity box donations, alone.

Total Cellar Systems, a company supplying technical equipment to the pub and restaurant sector, is going into administration, blaming ‘a slump in trade in recent years’

A Touch of Class Action

Belgian bar owners are banding together to sue the State for the damage caused to their trade by the smoking ban, which they are hoping to overturn entirely.

In addition, Maatschap Horecaclaim België, is advising its members to ignore the ban and not to pay any fines accruing.

And finally…

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

Freedom2choose (Scotland):
c/o The Dalmeny Bar, 297 Leith Walk,
Edinburgh EH6 8SA
Tel 0845 643 9552

JG & Partners, Regulated Entertainment-“A Call to Arms?”

Regulated Entertainment – “A Call to Arms?”We have previously reported on the DCMS consultation to de-regulate “regulated entertainment”. See link.

This consultation expires 3rd December 2011.

We have previously said (and we believe it fundamentally important) that operators should respond to this consultation before its expiry, in an attempt to counter what we believe will be a groundswell of opposition by those against any such form of relaxation.

Apart from welcoming the proposed de-regulation for itself, any such response might also conveniently mention (as you see fit) any possible increase in employment opportunities which might arise as a result and also the cost savings which might follow, both to Licensing Authorities (substantially relieved of this burden) and to yourselves as operators.

The consultation document can be found in the link above.

Responses to the questions posed can be sent to or by post to Nigel Wakelin, Regulated Entertainment Consultation Co-Ordinator, DCMS, 2 – 4 Cockspur Street, London SW1Y 5DH.

If you would like any advice as to the content of your responses, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

O’h dear a spat between Tennent’s and Punch, Barrel-Dregs (211)

Tennent’s hits back at Punch Taverns

7th November, 2011 by Rupert Millar

Scottish brewer Tennent’s has struck back at suggestions by Punch Taverns that publicans replace the lager with alternative brands in the face of price increases.

Punch Taverns has encouraged landlords to seek alternative lagers rather than accept the 30 to 40 pence increase in price being pushed through by the brewery’s owner, C&C Group.

A letter from the pub group advised landlords: “To protect your profitability we strongly recommend that you act now and take the opportunity to revise and extend your draught lager portfolio before the Punch wholesale price review takes effect.”

Commenting on the letter, Tennent Caledonian’s commercial managing director, Steve Annand, said: “We are extremely disappointed that Punch Taverns has chosen to communicate with its publicans in this way.

“Tennent’s does not control the price that our customers charge their customers, nor over the bar.

“Our renegotiated deal with Punch Taverns should not result in a price increase of the magnitude being alleged and, in fact, it does not follow that there should be any price rise for publicans or consumers.”

Annand continued that only a very small percentage of Scotland’s pubs would be affected by the increase.

He said: “The renegotiations referred to involve less than 5% of Scotland’s 11,500 licensed premises and the vast majority of Scotland’s licensed premises are unaffected.

“We would like to reassure our customers and our drinkers that Scotland’s favourite pint will continue to be available in pubs across Scotland – and at significantly less than £3.50 a pint.”

Tennent’s also took a strong stance against landlords using bar taps that were not authorised by the brewery.

Annand stated: “On the issue of the separate letter that was sent to less than twenty outlets regarding the use of Tennent’s dispense equipment, we reserve the right to take whatever steps necessary to preserve the quality of Tennent’s being served across the bar.”

Question:-Are Punch becoming more user friendly?    Leopards don’t change their Spots.

Do Tennents  think they are that dominant that they can dictate in a falling market?  Diplomacy and a realistic approach are needed.

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