Monthly Archives: January 2013

John Gaunt & Partners, Protection of Pubs, Planning.

 

Protection of Pubs

BBPA to Judicially Review council decision

31 January 2013The British Beer & Pub Association is to seek a judicial review over Cambridge City Council’s interim planning policy guidance on the protection of pubs which was adopted in October 2012.

The guidance sets out how applicants should justify their proposals for change of use, conversion or redevelopment of pub sites. It also lists the criteria that should be used in the assessment of applications for development proposals affecting the loss of a current or former public house on the city’s list of safeguarded public house sites.

In particular it states that development will only be permitted where evidence has been provided to satisfy the following criteria:

“(a) The pub has been marketed for 12 months as a public house free of tie and restrictive covenant and for alternative local commercial or community facility, at a price agreed with the Council following an independent professional valuation (paid for by the developer) and there has been no interest in either the free- or lease-hold either as a public house, restaurant or other use falling within the ‘A’ use classes or as a community facility falling within ‘D1’ use class; and

(b) All reasonable efforts have been made to preserve the facility (including all diversification options explored – and evidence supplied to illustrate this) but it has been proven that it would not be economically viable to retain the building or site for its existing or any other ‘A’ or ‘D1’ class use; and

(c) It has been otherwise demonstrated that the local community no longer needs the public house or any alternative ‘A’ or ‘D1’ class use and its loss would not damage the availability of local commercial or community facilities that provide for day-to-day needs in the local area.”

The BBPA is understood to be arguing that the council failed to follow procedure for the development of policy.

The council are currently reviewing the BBPA’s documentation, but will be defending the claim and instructing counsel.

Call us on 0114 266 8664or email info@john-gaunt.co.uk

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

The Joy of Credit Cards, Barrel-Dregs 254

 

CANCEL YOUR CREDIT CARD BEFORE YOU DIE …….  JUST PRICELESS

Reported in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle Recently:   Be sure and cancel your credit cards before you die! 

This is so priceless. 

And so easy to see happening – customer service, being what it is today!

A lady died this last September, and MBNA bank billed her in October and November for their annual service charges on her credit card, and then in December added late fees and interest on the monthly charge. 

The balance that had been £0.00, now is somewhere around – £60.00.

A family member rang MBNA: Family Member: ‘I am calling to tell you that my grandmother died in September.

MBNA: ‘But the account was never closed and so the late fees and charges still apply.

Family Member: ‘Maybe, you should turn it over to your collections section.

MBNA: ‘Since it is two months overdue, it already has been.

Family Member: ‘So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?

MBNA: ‘Either report her account to the Frauds Department or report her to The Credit bureau, maybe both!’

Family Member: ‘Do you think God will be upset with her?

MBNA: ‘Excuse me?

Family Member: ‘Did you just get what I was telling you..  the part about her being dead?

MBNA: ‘Sir, you’ll have to speak to my supervisor.’

Supervisor gets on the phone: Family Member: ‘I’m phoning to tell you, she died in September.’

MBNA: ‘But the account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.

Family Member: ‘You mean you want to collect from her estate?

MBNA: (Stammer) ‘Are you her solicitor?

Family Member: ‘No, I’m her grandson.

MBNA: ‘Could you fax us a death certificate?

Family Member: ‘no problem..’ (fax number is given)

After they get the fax: MBNA: ‘Our system just isn’t set up for death.  I don’t know what more I can do to help.

Family Member: ‘Well, if you sort it out, great!  If not, you could just keep billing her.  I don’t think she will care.

MBNA: ‘Well, the late fees and charges will still apply.’ Family Member: ‘Would you like her new billing address?

MBNA: ‘That would help.

Family Member: ‘Plot 1049.’  Heaton Cemetery, Heaton Road, Newcastle upon Tyne

MBNA: ‘But, that’s a cemetery!

Family Member: ‘Well, what the f*** do you do with dead people on your planet?’    

 The MBNA were not available for comment when a reporter from the Newcastle Evening Chronicle rang them.

 

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and www.buyingapub.com 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

 

Smoking updates newsletter, a trifle more subdued this month.

Freedom2choose Newsletter

A trifle more subdued this month, I enjoy reading this newsletter as a total non smoker, the choice to smoke is up to the individual, but the ban in public places  like pubs is draconian and detrimental to the industry.

Smoking should be down to the individual licensee and can be accommodated where a core business is dependent on smokers, all that has developed, certainly in urban and rural areas is that a culture of drinking at home has developed and the business has gone to the supermarkets.

You will never stop smoking in the next twenty years, how many young people do you see with a cigarette or a spliff, far too many, their parents or friends smoke, unless they have a very good reason not to smoke, why shouldn’t they, it’s perfectly legal.

We have the farce of smoking shelters outside pubs, which customers are expected to stand and freeze in on a cold Winters night, if you tied your dog up there, the RSPCA would prosecute you.

We need to have some common sense back in the world, whether we can bring many pubs core businesses back is debateable, maybe if there was more flexibility, sadly it is in the lap of the gods.

I was in the USA last year and read an article about medical insurance in a business magazine, the medicare industry was struggling financially because of the medical costs of people living longer and the ailments that developed, it far outweighed the costs of treating smoking related illnesses in the living, the majority of smokers, supposedly died at an earlier age to non smokers, if they enjoyed smoking they at least died doing something that had given them great pleasure during their lives.

NW


January NewsletterPosted: 29 Jan 2013 11:00 AM PST

Message

In this month’s issue

  • Message from the Chairman
  • Main News
  • News in Brief
  • An apology
  • The Last Word

Message from the Chairman

Welcome to 2013.

I think one of the silver linings towards the end of 2012 was that “tobacco control” began to be seen more widely as the template for alcohol and obesity, and we have gained significant sympathy from increasing numbers of the public. In one year’s time, or in five, ten or twenty years when the nannies have finally been put back in their box, people like us will be seen in the vanguard of fighting the illiberal and bully state. Just as the Winter Solstice is the darkest day, so I hope 2012 was the nadir of smoker oppression. It may still be colder in January and the beginning of 2013 but the bright sunlit uplands of Spring will soon be upon us.

Rest assured, I will be fighting no matter what time the sun sets or rises, and look forward to working together with you.
Dave Atherton Chairman Freedom To Choose

MAIN NEWS

Fifteen-fold rise in tobacco control spending since 1999 fails to reduce smoking rate in Scotland

Since devolution in 1999, spending on tobacco control in Scotland has risen from nearly £1.45 million to nearly £22 million. Against this the decline in smoking, which was at its height in the 1970s and 1980s, has slowed considerably. This excellent analysis by F2C (Scotland) was picked up by newspapers and bloggers. Go to their press release here.

Severe doubts over childhood asthma smoking ban claims

Chris Snowden takes a close look at the claim that hospital admissions for childhood asthma declined sharply after the introduction of the smoking ban. This story was covered by several others, and we are convinced it is junk science. Chris does a nice study with graphs. Go to the story here.

Plain packaging consultation: so that’s why the deadline was extended

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that on July 5, 2012, three working days before the closing date, the Department of Health and Ageing in Australia sent an email to their counterparts in London requesting an extension to the UK Government’s consultation on standardised packaging of tobacco. Ignoring the fact that they had three months’ notice of the closing date, the Aussies wanted their submission to be signed off by their Minister of Health… but she was on a “short absence”. A few hours after the request was sent the Department of Health issued a statement extending the deadline for submissions by four weeks. Simon Clark reveals the full story here.

NEWS IN BRIEF

Smokers used as cash cows by local councils. Litter fines are being used as a cash cow by councils employing “private police forces”, a BBC investigation suggests. The number of litter fines issued by English councils has rocketed from 727 in 1997 to 63,883 last year. Last year in Hillingdon and Enfield, 97% and 94% of fines respectively were for dropping cigarette butts.

Thousands of tobacco retailers protest on the streets of Brussels. As the headline says, thay are ‘fuming’ at EU restrictions. This wasn’t widely reported in the press.

Australian government lose case against tobacco stickers firm. These are stickers which can be used to cover the plain packaging.

Why do healthy people have strokes? A rather balanced report from the BBC’s News health and science reporter.

 

AN APOLOGY

The F2C editorial team apologises. No blog round up this month. No pictures in this edition of the newsletter. We have been busy dealing with the rest of our lives: family, work, and keeping warm. After all, we are people first and foremost who just happen to smoke.

THE LAST WORD

“If I see one more politician who voted for the smoking ban crying crocodile tears about the state of the pub industry, I may throw up.”

– Chris Snowdon

 

Freedom2choose: c/o John H Baker 22 Glastonbury House, Priestfields, Middlesbrough, Cleveland TS3 0LF Tel/Fax 0845 643 9469
Alliance Online Catering Equipment – suppliers of Pub and Bar Equipment to the Licensed Industry

Regenerate jobs in the UK, this idea is a good starter.

 

 Job Creation in the UK

You may already know of this but, if not, it might be useful info for you to bear in mind .  

Any time you call an 0800 number (for a credit  card, banking, charter communications, health  and other insurance, computer help desk, etc) and you find that you’re talking to a  foreign customer service representative (perhaps in India, Pakistan,  etc), please consider doing the  following:   After you connect and you  realize that the customer service representative is not from the United Kingdom you can always ask if  you are not sure about the accent), please, very politely (this is not about trashing  other cultures) say, “I’d like to speak to a  customer service representative in the United Kingdom.”   The rep might suggest talking to his/her manager, but, again, politely say, “Thank you, but I’d like to speak to a customer service representative in the United Kingdom .”   YOU WILL BE IMMEDIATELY CONNECTED TO A REP IN THE UK .  That’s the rule and the LAW.   It takes less than one minute to have your call re-directed to the United Kingdom . Tonight when I got redirected to a UK rep, I asked again to make sure – and yes, she was from NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE ..   Imagine what would happen if every United Kingdom citizen insisted on talking to only UK phone reps from this day on.    Imagine how that would ultimately impact the number of UK jobs that would need to be created ASAP…   If I tell 10 people to consider this and you tell 10 people to consider doing this – see what I mean…it becomes an exercise in viral marketing 101.   Remember – the goal here is to restore jobs back here at home – not to be abrupt or rude to a foreign phone rep. You may even get correct answers, good advice, and solutions to your problem – in real English.   If you agree, please tell 10 people you know, and ask them to tell 10 people they know…..etc…Etc

Food for thought.

NW

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

Statutory Regulation: Vince Cable assures pub tenants they will be given “equal weight” in consultation

Statutory code:

Vince Cable assures pub tenants they will be given “equal weight” in consultation

Business secretary Vince Cable has said the views of tenants will be given “equal weight” to those of pub companies in the forthcoming consultation on statutory regulation , expected in the spring.

http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/General-News/Statutory-code-Vince-Cable-assures-pub-tenants-they-will-be-given-equal-weight-in-consultation

Morgan & Clarke, this is an essential read for all Tenants

MORGAN & CLARKE  JANUARY 2013 NEWSLETTER NO. 16

Pigeon House, The Broadway,

Oakridge Lynch, Stroud, Glos. GL6 7NU

Email: info@morganandclarke.co.uk   Phone:  01285 719292

www.morganandclarke.co.uk

(Also at:  London, Cardiff, Matlock, Braunton, Lewes)

 

 

Speaking as current and previous licensees, both Simon Clarke and David Morgan can well understand the relief of our Clients in having survived both New Year’s Eve and the trade pressures of the lead up to Christmas.  Well-deserved holidays are now being taken to recharge the batteries and, hopefully, the seasonal downturn of January and February will not be too harsh.

 

Looking ahead, we are trying to be as positive as the current state of the economy rolls out for 2013.  The discretionary leisure spend, with the exception of Inner London, seems to be taking a further knock with even more pressure being placed on the On-licensed trade.  Currently there is a degree of recognition of this simple but self-evident fact in that Pub Companies and, indeed, Brewery Companies, are recognising that substantial rent increases are a thing of the past.  However, having rents either stay the same or drop by 5-10% really isn’t enough and we are seeing a continual stream of 30-40% rent reductions nationwide now becoming much more commonplace.  However, the devil is always in the detail which we tend to tease out into the open through our continuing use of the free of charge Strength of Case Rent Review, which is always in strictest confidence.

 

We have two major issues to air in this January 2013 newsletter:  1)  details of Surrender of Lease Procedures;  and 2) The Wellington Catch 22 conundrum.   Both are important in that Enterprise are market leaders (sad really!) in issues of Surrender of leases and there are a surprising number of Wellington leases up for renewal.

 

1.  Enterprise Inns – Lease Surrenders

As mentioned in Newsletters passim, there are no “rules of engagement” over the thorny and regular occurrence of lease surrender.  No modern lease contains anything that sets down the basic rules and assumptions which we had hoped would have been somewhere mentioned and defined in the constantly revised (and long awaited) Industry Framework Code.

 

Clarity, to a degree, has now surfaced in the case of the Enterprise Inns owned Dolphin Inn, Bath, which is currently going through an urgent lease surrender following the serious ill health of one of the lessees.

 

Enterprise Inns’ in-house solicitor (that speaks volumes in itself – no other Pubco has an in-house full time solicitor and team!), one Loretta Togher, confirmed to our Clients on 6th December that Enterprise Inns were willing to consider the surrender of the lease, due to personal circumstances, and “the usual Heads of Terms are set out below”.  For the sake of completeness, all eighteen of those terms follow.

 

1.     Delivers up full vacant possession of the premises (including any domestic accommodation) in a clean and tidy condition on surrender date together with all Health & Safety statutory compliance certification.

 

2.      Delivers up the original agreement and all licensing documents and signed consent to transfer the Premises Licence.

 

3.     Allows such items of the tenant’s trade inventory as Enterprise shall select to be valued and purchased by Enterprise on departure.

 

4.     Confirms and warrants that the agreement and/or the inventory is not charged, mortgaged or otherwise encumbered.

 

5.     Provides information on all staff currently employed.  Although Enterprise Inns will not take a TUPE transfer of any staff as they will not be taking over the operation of the business.

 

6.     Remains responsible for all antecedent breaches of covenant, including but not limited to, rent, repair and tie obligations.

 

7.     Agrees in relation to the balance of arrears of rent or trade and any other payment due up to and including the date of surrender (as set out in the Departure Statement) will be paid in full upon vacant possession.

 

8.     Discharges all outstanding utility charges, council tax and business rates and advises all service providers, including the council of departure and closing account meter readings.

 

9.     Provides confirmation from the Local Authority that all annual fees payable in respect of the Premises Licence have been paid and are up-to-date and pays costs associated with transfer of Premises Licence of £85.00 plus VAT which will be collected on departure statement.

 

10.  Allows Enterprise, prior to surrender date, to erect a To Let Board, advertise the pub to let on their website and allows access for inspection for prospective tenants.

 

11.  Pays Enterprise Inns a sum equivalent to 3 months’ rent at the date of surrender by way of a surrender fee.

 

12.  Pays any costs associated with de-registration of the lease, if registered at HM Land Registry.  As part of surrender Enterprise would deregister the leasehold interest at a cost of £150.00 + VAT which will be collected on Departure Statement.

 

13.  Completes, if required, the ID1/ID2 forms and have them verified correctly by a solicitor or Land Registry Office to enable the cancellation of any registration.

 

14.  Makes good any dilapidations prior to surrender date or makes payment on departure for them to be made good by Enterprise Inns after departure.

 

15.  Indemnifies Enterprise, or their predecessors or successors in title or any companies which are parent or subsidiaries of or associated or connected, with against each and every claim, liability, costs, expense or demand which relates to any claim or claims by employees or any claims made under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 or Defective Premises Act 1972 or other statute or otherwise in relation to an event occurring during period of occupation.

 

16.  Accepts the surrender in full and final settlement of all or any claims of whatsoever nature, past, present or future, they have, or may have had, against Enterprise Inns, or our predecessors or successors in title or any companies which are parent or subsidiaries of or associated or connected with the landlord.

 

17.  Pays the costs incurred by Enterprise in preparation of a Deed of Surrender, estimated at £500 which will be collected on departure statement.

 

18.  Keep the terms of the surrender confidential.

 

Most of the above is pretty standard stuff with the exception of No. 3 (totally one-sided), No. 5 (very few pubs are shut down – the majority go to management companies which would ensure that the TUPE Regulations kick in), No. 11 (if the pub is automatically re-let fairly rapidly, why the need for a three months’ rent “fine”), No. 17(it’s a standard document which can be topped and tailed for less than £100!).

 

We have alerted the powers that be in respect of the inclusion of some or all of these eighteen points in the intended Industry Framework Code.  It would seem logical that there is some openness and honesty in advance of surrender in order that lessees have an idea as to what they are letting themselves in for

 

Enterprise Inns’ initiative is to be welcomed as there is now clarity of intention rather than no “rules of engagement” which allows for an ever-changing confusion in detail from other Pubcos.

Enterprise Inns’ take on the situation is that if you don’t accept the eighteen terms as above in full and final settlement, then they won’t ratify the surrender.  Oh, and you will  have noticed No. 18.  It seems that they are trying to keep these inflexible terms quietly hidden from their general estate.  Wonder why?

 

2.  Wellington Pub Company

You will all be familiar with the principle of Catch 22.  The latest and, quite unacceptable, version is what we now call “Wellington’s smoke and mirrors”.  This concerns lease renewal and works as follows.

 

A.  Under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954, the theory is that the freeholder should give the tenant Notice of their intention as to whether or not to grant another lease not earlier than twelve months and not later than six months before the lease termination date.  This falls to either Gosschalks, solicitors acting for Wellington Pub Company or for Criterion Asset Management who look after their 700 odd plus estate.  REALITY – nothing happens.

 

B.  Technically, the lessee should serve their own Notice of Intent within the period not later than six months before the termination of the lease as the corresponding Section 26 Notice has to have a six months’ lead in period.  REALITY – the lessee isn’t aware of the legal niceties and nothing happens.

 

C.  The lease termination date passes and the lessee suddenly wakes up and contacts Criterion Asset Management.  The mantra is that the rent should stay approximately the same, notwithstanding that, in our experience, there should be anything up 30-40% rent reductions.  RESULT – nothing happens.

 

D.  The lessee contacts his solicitor and asks them to liaise with Gosschalks, Solicitors, acting for Wellington, in the drafting of a new lease.  RESULT – nothing happens as Gosschalks’ instruction are that they can only enter into those negotiations when the rent has been settled.

 

E.  The lessee contacts Criterion seeking a substantial rent reduction and a revision of the lease to reflect “modern terms”.  Don’t forget that Wellington Pub Company are the ONLY Pubco that still insist on upwards only rent reviews.  Everyone else in the industry has woken up to the reality of upwards and downwards rent reviews but no matter.  RESULT – nothing happens on the basis that Criterion won’t negotiate any form of rent reduction until the new lease is settled.

 

The whole affair has now come full circle with no draft lease and no substantive rent review negotiations.

 

David Morgan did, however, try to force the pace in respect of the Charcoal Burner at Sidcup with David Holme of Criterion Asset Management who steadfastly refused either to reveal his rent calculations or enter into any form of meaningful negotiations despite the lease termination date being well past.  No Section 25 Notice was served and the eye-watering rent still continues to be paid.  The lessee finally decided that enough was enough and that he would not be taking up a new lease and a three months’ Termination Notice has now been served.  Since the lease termination date, Gosschalks have confirmed that they had no instructions in respect of the issuance of a new draft lease and Criterion Asset Management, without telling the lessee, finally sought expert advice from another Chartered Surveyor which was confirmed in early January.  All too little and too late with the question of lease affordability now being paramount with the ultimate conclusion that a further delay of three-six months was not worth a candle.

 

So why did this happen?  Wellington Pub Company rents are generally seen, nationwide, as being eye-wateringly high on the basis that previous rent reviews have always been on an upwards only basis.  It is not in Wellington Pub Company/Criterion’s interests to hasten any form of lease renewal procedure as the stark fact of rent reductions would seriously undermine the Wellington Pub Company’s book values. 

 

Forcing Wellington Pub Company/Criterion Asset Management is also, to a degree, a ‘no brainer’ as to force the whole issue to Court for specific performance is looked upon by informed solicitors as incurring a minimum cost of at least £15,000.  Quite naturally, that is not an option for cash starved lessees in the current economic climate unless they are multiple operators.  Even then, it should not be necessary.

 

Is it legal?  Considered legal opinion is that there is nothing specifically illegal in Wellington Pub Company’s actions as, technically, the lessee has the option of serving a Section 26 Notice and it is not Wellington Pub Company’s fault if that Notice is not served in good time.  The County Court system is still available for pursuing a case against Wellington Pub Company to force their hands.  The question of associated and expensive cost is not something that can be readily held as being other than the cost of the process involved.  All quite legal!

 

3.  And Finally

“Warning:       The consumption of alcohol may lead you to believe that ex lovers really do want you to phone them at three in the morning!”

 

 

The Team at M & C

Email: info@morganandclarke.co.uk

Phone: 01285 719292

Statutory Legislation is now to the forefront, BISC Report and comment

Statutory Legislation is now to the forefront.

Business, Innovation and Skills Committee

Select Committee Announcement No.39

Wednesday 9 January, 2013

For immediate release

Government to implement Committee recommendation and consult on establishing statutory Code and Adjudicator for pub companies.

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has written to Adrian Bailey MP, Chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, to inform him that the Government is to consult on establishing a statutory Code and Adjudicator to oversee the relationship between pub companies and licensees.

This is in accordance with the recommendation of the Committee in its September 2011 report,Pub Companies.

Commenting on the letter, Mr Bailey said:

“The relationship between pub companies and their lessees has been the subject of regular and sustained scrutiny by my Committee over recent years.

“During this period, the industry time and again failed to address the areas of concern raised by us and deliver meaningful reform. Opportunities to put its house in order were squandered.

“In our most recent report on the issue, frustrated by the glacial speed of progress, we asked to Government to keep to its undertaking to consult on establishing a statutory Code and Adjudicator, if we so recommended

“I am pleased the Government has now agreed to this and welcome the Secretary of State’s letter. I also welcome his acknowledgment of the pivotal role my Committee has played in the development of policy in this area.

“The Secretary of State is expected to appear before the Committee in the near future. I look forward to that opportunity to discuss the consultation in more detail, including the proposed timetable.”

–ENDS–

Notes to editors:

In its 2011 report, Pub Companies, published on 20 September 2011, the Committee stated:

 

The position of the previous Government—endorsed by the current Government—was that if we so recommended, it would consult on how to put the Code on a statutory footing. It is now time for the Government to act on that undertaking. In its response to our Report, the Government has to set out the timetable for that consultation and begin the process as a matter of urgency. We further recommend that the consultation includes proposals for a statutory Code Adjudicator armed with a full suite of sanctions. Considering the amount of evidence gathered by us and our predecessor Committees this should not be a lengthy process; and given the Government’s undertaking to us we do not anticipate any meaningful delay. Furthermore, we caution the Government that offering a compromise of nonstatutory intervention would be a departure from its undertaking to us and would not bring about the meaningful reform that is needed. [para 157]

 

The full report can be accessed on the Parliament website via the link below:

URL: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmbis/1369/1369i.pdf

 

 

FURTHER INFORMATION:

 

Committee Membership is as follows:

Chair: Mr Adrian Bailey MP (Lab) (West Bromwich West) Mr Brian Binley MP (Con) (Northampton South) Paul Blomfield MP (Lab) (Sheffield Central)

Katy Clark MP (Lab) (North Ayrshire and Arran) Mike Crockart MP (Lib Dem) (Edinburgh West)

Caroline Dinenage MP (Con) (Gosport) Julie Elliott MP (Lab) (Sunderland Central)

Rebecca Harris MP (Con) (Castle Point) Ann McKechin MP (Lab) (Glasgow North)

Mr Robin Walker MP (Con) (Worcester) Nadhim Zahawi MP (Con) (Stratford upon Avon)

 

Committee Website:www.parliament.uk/bis

Media Information: David Fosterfosterda@parliament.uk 020 719 7556

Specific Committee Information: biscom@parliament.uk/ 020 7219 5777/ 020 7219 5779

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv

 

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found onwww.parliament.uk

 

The publican and Fair Pint campaigner Simon Clarke put it like this: “For far too long, tied pub tenants have been abused by big pub-owning companies. Many have lost their livelihoods, savings and have lived in fear of losing their home. This announcement comes after many years of highlighting this unfairness.”

For many individuals, it is more than a mere pity it took so long. I got to know a guy a few years ago who had packed in a successful, lucrative trade in the music industry to pump his considerable fortune into running what he thought was a lovely Sussex pub. Three years later, he was divorced and living in a council flat. He hadn’t seen his son for months.

Maybe he was a bad businessman, but the point is that the pubco didn’t care either way – it got its pound of flesh whether he succeeded or failed.

Mr Cable said: “There is some real hardship in the pubs sector, with many pubs going to the wall as publicans struggling to survive on tiny margins. Some of this is due to pubcos exploiting and squeezing their publicans by unfair practices and a focus on short-term profits. Four select committee reviews since 2004 have highlighted these problems.

“Last year, we gave the pubcos one last chance to change their behaviour, but it is clear that the self-regulatory approach was not enough, and in October I wrote to the industry to seek their views. A change in the law is now needed to shift behaviour.”

Back at the BBPA, they are carping that “self-regulation should have been given a proper chance to work” and pleading for the new watchdog to operate with a “light touch” to “protect consumers” from the brunt of extra costs.

There are lots of reasons why a pint of beer is an increasingly expensive thing. None of them are to do with powerful pub companies not being allowed to shove around near powerless landlords.

A rare result for the little man, then. You could drink to that.

Is Sanity returning to the Industry? ALMR & MA reports.

 Is Sanity returning to the Industry?

After successive Government inquiries about the root cause problems in the industry and the evasive actions by successive Governments and MP’s.

Even my own MP who I have known for years admitted that he could not serve on a the BISC Inquiries because he was Vice Chair of the Parliamentary Beer Club, which was sponsored by at least one major Pub Co, who featured prominently in the Inquiries.

It makes an interesting read, but will this Government really do anything??????

ALMR Press Notice

The Voice of Licensed Hospitality

Statutory Code for Pubs

leading industry body, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, welcomed today’s announcement from the Secretary of State for Business that the Government will consult on establishing a statutory Code and adjudicator to oversee the relationship between pub companies and their lessees. This proposal will give legal backing to the voluntary agreement currently being negotiated between the British Beer and Pub Association and trade bodies representing lessees, including the ALMR.

Commenting on today’s announcement, which comes ahead of a Parliamentary debate on the subject in the House of Commons tomorrow, ALMR Chief Executive, Nick Bish, said:

“Today’s announcement draws a line under the protracted and prolonged period of political uncertainty and debate, which has been going on for far too long without any clear end in sight. That can only be helpful for investment in the sector as a whole and individual businesses in particular.

The proposals unveiled by the Secretary of State today will not take effect immediately and that makes it even more important that all partners continue to engage in robust dialogue to finalise and implement quickly the substantive improvements outlined in the draft version 6 of the Code and the associated changes to the self-regulatory structure. This will not only mean that tied tenants and lessees will have greater transparency and more robust rent setting in the meantime, but also that those businesses which fall outside the scope of the proposed regulatory structure will continue to be protected.”

1. The Secretary of State’s proposals were outlined today in a letter to the Chair of the BIS Select Committee, Adrian Bailey. It states that the Government will consult in the Spring to put the existing Industry Framework Code on statutory footing. The Code will include the fundamental principle that the tied licensee should be no worse off than a free of tie licensee. A new Adjudicator will have power to arbitrate on disputes and investigate complaints. The statutory regime will apply to companies with a tied estate of more than 500 tied leases.

2 For further information or comment, please contact:

Nick Bish, Chief Executive, ALMR 020 8579 2080 or 07958 796 238

Kate Nicholls, Strategic Affairs Director, ALMR 07958796238

Kate Nicholls Strategic Affairs Director

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers

9B Walpole Court, Ealing Studios, London, W5 5ED Tel: 020 8579 2080 or fax: 020 8579 7579

 Exclusive: Government to introduce statutory code for pub industry  Morning Advertiser

The Government is to consult on proposals to set up a statutory code and adjudicator to regulate the relationship between pub companies and their tenants, it has been announced today.

http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/General-News/Exclusive-Government-to-introduce-statutory-code-for-pub-industry

 

The publican and Fair Pint campaigner Simon Clarke put it like this: “For far too long, tied pub tenants have been abused by big pub-owning companies. Many have lost their livelihoods, savings and have lived in fear of losing their home. This announcement comes after many years of highlighting this unfairness.”

For many individuals, it is more than a mere pity it took so long. I got to know a guy a few years ago who had packed in a successful, lucrative trade in the music industry to pump his considerable fortune into running what he thought was a lovely Sussex pub. Three years later, he was divorced and living in a council flat. He hadn’t seen his son for months.

Maybe he was a bad businessman, but the point is that the pubco didn’t care either way – it got its pound of flesh whether he succeeded or failed.

Mr Cable said: “There is some real hardship in the pubs sector, with many pubs going to the wall as publicans struggling to survive on tiny margins. Some of this is due to pubcos exploiting and squeezing their publicans by unfair practices and a focus on short-term profits. Four select committee reviews since 2004 have highlighted these problems.

“Last year, we gave the pubcos one last chance to change their behaviour, but it is clear that the self-regulatory approach was not enough, and in October I wrote to the industry to seek their views. A change in the law is now needed to shift behaviour.”

Back at the BBPA, they are carping that “self-regulation should have been given a proper chance to work” and pleading for the new watchdog to operate with a “light touch” to “protect consumers” from the brunt of extra costs.

There are lots of reasons why a pint of beer is an increasingly expensive thing. None of them are to do with powerful pub companies not being allowed to shove around near powerless landlords.

A rare result for the little man, then. You could drink to that.

Tax Tips from Howards, Accountants

Welcome… To January’s Tax Tips & News, our newsletter designed to bring you tax tips and news to keep you one step ahead of the taxman.
If you need further assistance just let us know or you can send us a question for our Question and Answer Section.
We are committed to ensuring all our clients don’t pay a penny more in tax than is necessary.
Please contact us for advice in your own specific circumstances. We’re here to help!
January 2013
· Increased Annual Investment Allowance
· RTI – More Information
· New Tax Free Allowance
· Polytunnels and Glasshouses
· January Question and Answer Section
· January Key Tax Dates

Increased Annual Investment Allowance top
The annual investment allowance (AIA) gives a 100% deduction for tax purposes for the cost of plant, equipment and certain fixtures in buildings, which qualify for capital allowances. The AIA has an annual cap. This started at £50,000 in 2008, was increased to £100,000 by the previous government, and was cut to £25,000 in April 2012 by the current incumbents.
Now the AIA cap will temporarily increase to £250,000 for expenditure incurred in the two years from 1 January 2013. Equipment bought on and after 1 January 2015 will be subject to the reduced AIA cap of £25,000, unless the Chancellor of the day has another change of mind. Expenditure that qualifies for capital allowances, but which exceeds the available AIA cap for the business is given tax relief at the rate of 18% or 8% per year, depending on the nature of the item purchased.
The AIA cap for accounting periods that end on 31 December 2013 and 31 December 2014 will be £250,000, fair and square. But where your business has an accounting period that straddles 1 January 2013, the calculation of the AIA cap is complicated. Say your accounting period ends on 31 March 2013. You need to split the accounting period (for AIA purposes only), into:
a. 1 April 2012 to 31 December 2012 (portion of £25,000 AIA); and b. 1 January 2013 to 31 March 2013 (portion of £250,000 AIA).
The maximum AIA for the business is the sum of the portions of the AIA cap due for each of those sub-periods a) and b). However, the expenditure must also be spread over those two periods to gain the maximum advantage from the AIA. The business cannot spend its maximum AIA in the period from 1 January 2013 to 31 March 2013.
The complications do not stop there, as there is protection for businesses that have already spent their maximum AIA of £25,000 in 2012. Please ask us to check how much the AIA cap will be for your business before you purchase any expensive equipment.
RTI – More Information top
The rules for reporting wages, hours worked and payroll deductions under real time information (RTI) are still being written.
What to report
RTI reports will need to be made where at least one employee is paid above the lower earnings limit (LEL), (£109 per week for 2013/14). For wages between the LEL and the Primary threshold (£149 per week for 2013/14) the worker is given NI credits although they don’t actually pay any NI, so the level of their wages needs to be reported.
A major difference between RTI and the current system, is that once the employer is reporting under RTI, reports must be made for each employee even if no tax or NI are deducted for a particular period. This because RTI has two functions; – to report deductions to HMRC and to report net pay for each worker to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to allow the DWP to calculate top-up benefits such as Tax Credits and the new Universal Credit.
The wages for employees aged under 16 are not required to be included in the RTI report, unless those wages are so high that the worker will be subject to income tax. Workers aged under 16 do not pay NICs, and are not eligible to claim Tax Credits.
Penalties for errors
The draft legislation released on 11 December 2012 indicates that penalties for errors in RTI reports will apply from 6 April 2013, when most employers will be required to start using RTI. Those employers who are already in the RTI pilot programme may be subject to penalties if their last RTI report for the 2012/13 tax year is incorrect.
In either case the penalties for errors in RTI reports will not be collected until the 2013 Finance Act has been passed, probably in late July 2013. This application of penalties from the start of RTI has come as an unpleasant surprise, because tax and accountancy bodies have been pushing for a ‘soft-landing’ for the RTI penalty rules for all employers.
Penalties for late reports
Penalties for RTI reports which are submitted late will generally apply from 6 April 2014 onwards. Remember an RTI report will have to be filed every time employees are paid. Under the current system a report of PAYE deductions is only required to be submitted to HMRC once per tax year, by 19 May after the end of the tax year.
Where the last RTI report for the tax years 2012/13 (for employers in the RTI pilot) or 2013/14 is submitted by 19 May after the end of the tax year, there will be no late-filing penalty. However, from 6 April 2014, where the employer fails to submit RTI reports on time within the tax year, the employer could be fined for each month for which RTI reports are late. Only one penalty per month will apply even if the employer makes more than one RTI report during the month.
New Tax Free Allowance top
The standard personal allowance (amount of tax-free income) for 2013/14 will be £9,440. We had been expecting a smaller increase to £9,205.
The new higher allowance allows an individual to earn £181.54 per week (about £787 per month) tax free. But the NIC thresholds will not increase by as much, so an employee starts to pay NICs on income way below the tax-free threshold.
In 2013/14 the class 1 primary NI earnings threshold for employees will be £149 per week (£7755 per year). Employers will pay class 1 NI on wages of £148 or more per week (£7700 per year). You need to consider the NI costs for both you and your company when deciding how much you can extract from your own company as salary.
If you pay yourself the full personal allowance of £9,440 as salary from 6 April 2013, you will have personal NIC of £202.20 (12% x (9440-7755)) for the year. Your company will also pay £240.12 (13.8% x (9440-7700)) in class 1 NICs. However, the salary and NIC cost is fully tax allowable for the company.
A salary of £7,695 per year (about £147.98 per week) will avoid both employees and employers NICs. But you will get an NI credit for state retirement pension purposes if your salary lies in the range £109 to £149 per week. Unfortunately under RTI (see above), payments of salary in that range will have to be reported to HMRC, so there is no admin saving on paying a low salary.
Polytunnels and Glasshouses top
Does your business use a polytunnel or glasshouse?
In the past the Taxman has refused to allow a tax deduction for the cost of such structures, on the basis that greenhouses are buildings. A greenhouse is generally expected to last several years, so the cost of the structure should be treated in the business accounts as ‘capital’ rather than as a ‘revenue’ expense. The cost of capital items cannot be deducted from annual profits, as the total expenditure must be spread over the life of the asset, using capital allowances. However, no capital allowances are given for the cost of buildings and similar structures (as opposed to the equipment they contain).
Now the Taxman has changed his mind. Polytunnels can qualify for capital allowances in certain circumstances, such as where the tunnel is moved around to aid the growth of particular crops in different areas at different times. If the primary function of the polytunnel is to provide shelter for livestock or stores, it will be regarded as ‘premises’ and not qualify for capital allowances.
A glasshouse may qualify for capital allowances if it contains, as part of the structure, permanently installed computer controlled equipment that automatically adjusts the heat and humidity inside the glasshouse. Unheated glasshouses will not qualify for capital allowances, as the Taxman views these as fixed buildings which happen to be made of glass.
The good news is that this change of approach comes into effect immediately, so all open claims for capital allowances on polytunnels or glasshouses can be settled in line with the Taxman’s new guidance. If you have had a claim for capital allowances refused based on the old guidance, you can ask the Taxman to reconsider your claim.
January Question and Answer Section top
Q. If I purchase a Land Rover Defender for use in my partnership business can I reclaim the VAT paid on the purchase? I will use the Land Rover 75% for business and 25% for private journeys.
A. You first need to check that the specific model of Land Rover Defender is regarded as a commercial vehicle for VAT purposes by HMRC. You can do this by ringing the VAT helpline on 0800 010 9000.
If HMRC agrees the Defender is a commercial vehicle, you can reclaim 75% of the VAT paid on the purchase, on the basis that it will be used for business purposes for 75% of its useful life. You should keep accurate mileage records of all your business journeys so you have evidence of the business use of the vehicle, in case HMRC ask you to prove the business use percentage. If the percentage of business use of the vehicle changes you may have to make an adjustment to your VAT return.
Q. The Christmas feasting has taken its toll on the waistlines of everyone in our company. Can I give the workforce a boost by having the company pay for gym membership for me and all my staff?
A. A company may provide sports or recreational facilities for its workforce, but unless those facilities are used mainly by current and former employees with exclusion of the general public, there will be a benefit in kind tax charge for the employees and the company. A membership for a gym open to any paying member from the general public would be taxed as a benefit for employees, the taxable value being the cost to the company of providing that membership.
Q. My business has started exporting goods. I’ve heard I need an EORI number. What is it, and how do I get one?
A. The Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) scheme started on 1 July 2009 and replaced the previous TURN system. The EORI provides a unique number for a business to quote to any Customs authority in the EU, for example when the business needs to make a customs declaration when goods arrive or depart from the EU.
If your business had a number under TURN, it should automatically have been issued with an EORI number. If your business is VAT registered in the UK you need to complete form C220 to obtain an EORI number, if you are not VAT registered the form to complete is C220A. These application forms can be sent by email to turn @hmrc.gsi.gov.uk
January Key Tax Dates top
1 – Due date for payment of Corporation Tax for the year ended 31 March 2012
14 – Return and payment of CT61 tax due for quarter to 31 December 2012
19/22 – PAYE/NIC and CIS deductions due for month to 5/1/2013 or quarter 3 of 2012/13 for small employers
31 – Deadline for filing 2012 Self Assessment personal, partnership and trust Tax Returns – £100 first penalty for late filing even if no tax is due or tax due is paid on time Balancing self assessment payment due for 2011/12 Capital gains tax payment due for 2011/12 First self assessment payment on account due for 2012/13 Interest accrues on all late payments Half yearly Class 2 NIC payment due Further penalty of 5% of tax due or £300, whichever is greater for personal tax returns still not filed for 2010/11 5% penalty for late payment of tax unpaid for 2010/11 self assessment
Need Help? top
New Clients Welcome top
Please contact us if we can help you with these or any other tax or accounts matters.
In addition, if there’s anyone else who you think would benefit from the newsletter, please forward the email to them or ask them to contact us to be added to the newsletter list.
If you are not already a client and are interested in becoming one, we would love to come to meet with you to discuss how we can help and provide you with a competitive quote for our services.
All new client consultations are provided free of charge and without obligation.

Poppleston Allen, Proposals for further Deregulation for Entertainment

Deregulation for Entertainment

Proposals for further deregulation.

  • Date: 07/01/2013
  • Source: Poppleston Allen
  • Author/Solicitor: Andy Grimsey

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has today issued a Response to its Consultation on Entertainment Deregulation. The Consultation, which was issued late in 2011 received over 1300 responses. In light of these responses the Government now plans to De-regulate Entertainment beginning in April 2013:-
• Plays and the Performance of Dance will be deregulated for audiences of up 500 between the hours of 08:00 to 23:00.
• Indoor sport will be deregulated for audiences of up to 1000 between 08:00 to 23:00.
• Live music. Live music is already partly deregulated under the Live Music Act since 1st October 2012, with live unamplified music in any location being permissible between 08:00 and 23:00 and live amplified music in on-licensed premises or workplaces for audiences of up to 200 between 08:00 to 23:00. The Government now proposes to raise the Live Music Act audience threshold for permitted music performance from 200 to 500 in on-licensed premises and workplaces.
• Recorded music will be treated in the same way as live music in on-licensed premises between 08:00 to 23:00 (i.e. with an audience limit of 500 and the prospect of a Review if noise nuisance is caused).
• Films will remain regulated, but the Government will consult in 2013 on proposals to examine the possibilities for safe community – focused screenings that maintain child protections.
• Plays, films, indoor sporting events, live and recorded music and performances of dance, held on their own premises by Local Authorities, hospitals, nurseries and schools (except higher education) will be exempt between 0800 to 2300, with no audience limit.
• Similarly, live and recorded music held on premises owned by the above organisations will be exempt from licensing requirements for audiences up to 500 people.
• Community premises such as church and village halls and community centres will be exempt from licensing requirements for live and recorded music for audiences of up to 500 people.
• Circuses will be exempt from regulation for live and recorded music, plays, dance and indoor sport between 08:00 to 23:00 with no audience restrictions.
• Regulation will remain in place for all activities that exceed the audience limits and timings above. Boxing and wrestling will remain regulated, with the exception of the Olympic sports of Greco-Roman and Free style wrestling. Cage fighting/mixed martial arts will become regulated activities.
Please note that all deregulated entertainment has a cut off time of 23:00 hours.
There is no mention in the Consultation Response on the status of licence conditions for these soon – to – be deregulated activities.
The response can be found at http://www.culture.gov.uk/consultations/9650.aspx
I will provide you with further detail and analysis in due course.

For more information please contact Andy Grimsey