Posted: 14 Nov 2013 04:00 PM PST
The Home Office has just released comprehensive statistics relating to alcohol and late night refreshment licensing England and Wales as at 31 March 2013. The DCMS’ statistics relating to entertainment figures is expected on 5 December 2013.
Further, of interest:
In addition, based on the data received from most but not all Licensing Authorities, there were:
2) Personal Licences
Based on data received from Licensing Authorities and estimates for the non-respondents, there were 544,600 personal licences in force in England and Wales on 31 March 2013. This is 7% (34,300) more than the same point last year and 39% (153,000) more than 31 March 2009.
In addition, based on the data received from most but not all Licensing Authorities:
3) 24 hour alcohol licences
Based on data received from most but not all Licensing Authorities, there were 7,672 24-hour alcohol licences in force on 31 March 2013 and the premises type was known for 7,352 of these.
Further details as at 31 March 2013 for 24 hour alcohol licences include:
Based on the data received from Licensing Authorities and estimates for non-respondents there were 800 Reviews completed in the year to 31 March 2013, which is 27% (-300) fewer than the previous year.
This breaks down further (based data received from most but not all Licensing Authorities) as:
Instigators of Reviews were as follows:
Outcomes of Reviews included:
5) Expedited Reviews
Based on data received from most but not all Licensing Authorities there were 94 applications for an expedited review in the year to 31 March 2013. However, 3 of these applications were withdrawn or rejected.
Interim steps were taken for 87 expedited reviews and none were taken in 5 cases. Interim steps taken included:
6) Hearings, Appeals and Judicial Reviews
Based on data received from most but not all Licensing Authorities:
In respect of appeals:
In the year to 31 March 2013, 230 Licensing Authorities reported that no appeals were made against any decision.
c) Judicial Reviews
Only 1 judicial review was completed.
7) Cumulative Impact Areas
Based on data received from most but not all Licensing Authorities there were 175 Cumulative Impact Areas in place on 31 March 2013.
8) Temporary Event Notices (TENs)
Based on data received from most but not all Licensing Authorities there were:
Posted: 13 Nov 2013 04:00 PM PST
Colliers have just released their latest Central London Retail Health Check ‘which provides an overview of the current state of the retail market and assesses the extent to which these trends are impacting on the high street by using vacant units as a key indicator’.
A summary of the conclusions follows:
The full Health Check report can be found here: Central London Retail Health Check
Good Advice to the Pub Industry
The Pub Specialist
A day doesn’t go by without an analyst reporting on the latest number of pub closures for it’s an issue upon which everyone has an opinion. But could these closures be good news for the second in the long term? Would a leaner, concentrated model with focussed, enthusiastic pub companies and more knowledgeable proactive landlords be the way forward?
The present disjointed pub sector has large pub operators weighed down with the debt resulting from their desire to accrue bricks and mortar in boom times. Overburdened Business Development Managers are running around using time share strategies on gullible prospective landlords to keep pubs open. In return debatable starting rents are levied and excessive wholesale drinks profits are promised.
Meanwhile the traditionalists bemoan the smoking ban, healthier life styles and aggressive price cutting from retail outlets. Add the loyal pub activists to the mix, banging on the government’s door asking for concessions and reform on VAT. And finally the training associations are seeking new direction.
At the sharp end of the business under-trained, disillusioned landlords attempt to service an astute, fickle customer base seeking perceived value and new entertainment solutions.
So what is the solution? Running a pub operation already takes a lot of the landlord’s time and effort
and this limits his ability to develop new business opportunities successfully. Their urgent need for solid business foundations, control strategies in finance, operations, sales and marketing, can thus only be achieved with external support and a reliable business information infrastructure.
But the implementation of this support will only happen if the decision makers at board level rethink their business model and apportion budgets to train their Business Development Managers and invest in business development programmes that are relevant and proven to work.
In essence Directors should
- · re-focus their efforts and budgetary commitment to training the landlords to a level of business competency required in today’s competitive leisure market
- · introduce more stringent, intensive induction training programmes for new pub entrants
- · have account focussed Business Development Managers trained in current business strategies enabling them to coach and support landlords to mutual benefit
- · encourage more trust and transparency between landlord and pub company in the financial aspects of the business.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Customers still enjoy participating in our pub tradition with some good companies and operators. But with a bit of reorganisation it could be so much better for everyone.
The Pub Specialist
www.The Pub Specialist.co.uk
A scam doing the rounds.
|Fire Safety – a timely reminder (again)
Posted: 05 Nov 2013 04:00 PM PST
With recent news of another successful prosecution for ‘inadequate fire safety measures’ in licensed premises, it is worth a further periodic reminder perhaps that:
It is of fundamental importance that all premises have a ‘fit for purpose’ Fire Risk Assessment prepared (and are in compliance with it!) and if the preparation of it is contracted out that it is prepared by a suitably qualified individual.
|Call to remove ‘barriers to growth’
Posted: 05 Nov 2013 04:00 PM PST
It will not surprise those working within the leisure industry that following an audit by the Local Government Association (LGA) it has apparently been established that to lawfully operate a new small family restaurant, as many as 8 separate licensing applications would be required prior to opening which would be issued by various different Local Authority departments with no single point of contact. Council Leaders have expressed a view that the current system will deter people from setting up and running businesses in their Communities, thereby prohibiting local growth and regeneration.
The LGA has called for a review of what they described as “an expensive and complicated maze” of applications which constitute licensing. If we can help you find your way through the maze, please do get in contact; we have the route map!
|Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead ‘reject’ Late night Levy
Posted: 05 Nov 2013 04:00 PM PST
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is the latest council which has opted not to recommend the implementation and adoption of a late night levy, a decision taken at a meeting held earlier this week.
|Taxation and Gaming Machines – HMRC – v – Rank Group PLC – Developments
Posted: 04 Nov 2013 04:00 PM PST
In October two decisions were handed down concerning the taxation of certain gaming machines which has been the subject of lengthy litigation between the HMRC and the Rank Group PLC.
The cases are referred to as Slots 1 and Slots 2 and deal with distinct issues, both of which will ultimately impact upon the taxation of the machines in question.
Slots 1 focuses on how the result of the games are determined and whether that affects the type of machine from a VAT perspective.
The argument in Slots 2 revolves around what Rank perceives as similarities between the two machines; the disputed machines in this case are Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (“FOBT’s”), which are machines found in betting shops. Rank argued that FOBT’s are similar to gaming machines (ie section 31 and 34 machines). The Court of Justice of the European Union has confirmed that when assessing, for the purposes of fiscal neutrality, whether two types of slot machine are similar and require the same treatment for VAT purposes, it must be established whether the use of those types of machine is comparable from the point of view of the average consumer. Factors to be taken in into account include the minimum and maximum permitted stakes and the chances of winning. Rank argues that the different approach to taxation for these ‘similar’ machines offends this principal.
Although the recent decisions are of interest they are, in reality, just another step along the path. In the case of Slots 1, Rank have applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.
There is some considerable distance left to run in these cases before a final decision (destination) is reached.
The recent decisions:
Slots 1 – 30th October 2013 – HMRC -v- The Rank Group PLC –  EWCA Civ 1289
Takings from a system of slot machines served by a single, separate random number generator were not entitled to the exemption from VAT for gaming activities applicable between October 1, 2002 and December 5, 2005. Each slot machine terminal and linked random number generator was a “gaming machine” within the Value Added Tax Act 1994 Sch.9 Group 4 Item 1 Note 3.
Slots 2 – 4th October 2013 – HMRC -v- The Rank Group PLC - UKUT 347 (TCC)
Following the decision of the European Court of Justice in Revenue and Customs Commissioners v Rank Group Plc (C-259/10)  S.T.C. 23, the Upper Tribunal quashed and remitted a decision of the First-tier Tribunal that gaming machines operated under the Gaming Act 1968 Pt III and betting machines known as “fixed odds betting terminals” were so “relevantly similar” that their differential VAT treatment was a violation of the principle of fiscal neutrality.
PUNCH ACCOUNTS YEAR 2013.
A summary by a learned Accountant and very creative reading.
With the annual accounts now published on line it opens up the opportunity to examine the detail in those accounts more closely. It is interesting to note that this is the first year Punch have attempted to split their data into Core and Non Core businesses. These are my findings.
- 1. There are 4096 pubs stated as being worth £2,397 million secures against borrowings, short and long, of £2,619 million. Shareholders’ funds are stated as being £295 million.
- 2. The average debt per pub equates to £640k [last year £593k] and they indicate the average value per pub of £643k [last year £597k] . Even if the extraneous “other” assets and borrowings were set aside the answer would be similar average debt £581k [£540k] and pubs valued at £585k [£543k]. Both the average asset value and borrowing per pub has increased over the past year. These indicate that the borrowing are just about equal to the property value. But is that correct? The question must depend on their valuation of properties . Have they overstated the value of the properties?
- 3. The statement indicates that Punch have increased their own average gross earnings per pub to £60.8k,[2012-£60.1k] with rent staying at an average of £27k per pub per annum, virtually the same as 2012.
- 4. It is interesting to note that they appear to generate rent for the 2874 core pubs of £34k while the 1222 non- core generate £17k per annum.
- 5. The £60k average per pub they earn includes the very significant additional wholesale profit of about £14k per pub so the real rent, consisting of wet and lease, is probably £47k per annum. That wholesale profit of £14k per pub is the additional profit generated as a wholesaler and has no relevance to the value of the freehold properties.
- 6. National statistics indicate that barrelage in the on trade has fallen and that manufacturing prices have increased. The fact that Punch virtually maintained their liquor gross profit margin at 41.8% [last year 42.2%] suggests that they have balanced their cost with the prices charged to tenants.
- 7. Punch in their rent reviews generally make the assumption that the tenant would earn the same as them, £27k par annum. That assumption would appear to be erroneous considering the independent surveys carried out suggest that at least 67% of pub tenants actually earn only about 50% of that figure, in other words about £15k per annum.
- 8. With the knowledge of the rental income, wet and lease, averaging £47k and the real income for the average tenant being only£15k it clear that if those 4096 pubs had been free of tie and owned by the current tenant their average profit would be just £62k per annum.
- 9. The free of tie profit should be the basis of a pub valuation, mainly because it dictates how much could be borrowed and also the deposit that would be required to secure the borrowing. This is a very pertinent since it goes towards examining the values that Punch have applied in their Balance Sheet.
- 10. Any tenant submitting to a reputable lender a profit history of £62k per annum would be extremely fortunate if they could secure borrowings of around £225k, and that would be with a proviso that they had personal funds of about £100k for a deposit. So an annual profit of £62k suggests that there would be an average supportable value of £325k for each of the 4,096 pubs . Naturally these are averages, some will be higher and some lower, however when considering the substantial volume and spread of assets the average tends to take care of such fluctuations. So across that total estate, the total value based on £325k per pub would be only £1,332 million.
- 11. So here is the problem. According to the Balance Sheet Punch state the average value per pub, across their estate of 4,096 pubs, and excluding other incidentals, is £585k resulting in their reported total value of £2,397 million. There would appear to be a substantial difference between the supportable asset value of £325k and the Punch figure of £585k; in fact it is almost double! The overall difference for the total estate could be an astounding £1,065 million.
- 12. Bearing in mind that the shareholders funds in total are reported as being £296 million suggests that there could ultimately be a Billion pound shortfall problem.
- 13. Naturally some Valuers will be jumping up and down claiming that they could secure offers for properties based on multiples of six, seven or eight times the pub profit. That would mean that they would be claiming that a maximum average value of nearly £500k could be achieved. Not very plausible! Even if true there would still be a very substantial shortfall substantially greater than the current shareholder funds. Possibly there would be a few small corporate buyers that may be able to justify multiples up to eight times profit but that would not apply to the vast majority of pubs at the bottom end of the scale. It has to be added that conning buyers into paying more than the profit can service could be tantamount to deception or even fraud.
- 14. The Government have before them a proposed code to ensure that pubcos in their assessment of rentals apply, under Statute, the prime principle that “the tied tenant would not be worse off financially than if they were free of tie” That would impact significantly on the profitability of Punch. On the basis of the limited information available the average income per pub for Punch could fall by £17k per pub, about £70 million a year which is more than the current annual pre tax profit.
The Punch Financial Statements are to be presented to the Annual General Meeting to be held on the 27th November 2013, and it needs to be noted that about two thirds of all the shares currently issued are held by institutions. In conclusion the examination in closer detail does suggest that the future looks very bleak, not only for the bond holders/lenders who have overvalued assets as their security but shareholders as well.
Prepared 4th November 2013 by A B Jacobs, Bristol BS10 7RH
Passed to Potboy
Editorial Note:-Sadly the initial creators of these appalling figures are long gone, clutching their billions in their hot hands, to enjoy a life of extreme luxury far from the struggling and in far too many cases bankrupt failed tenants.
Dismissed on the Punch Taw and Closed Reasons Tracker as Retailer Failure.
I have some sympathy for the Punch Staff trying to rescue this Titanic, which is in danger of vanishing forever below the ice cold waves of debt.
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.
Posted: 03 Nov 2013 04:00 PM PST
The Gambling Commission have published a public statement following a recent engagement with Ladbrokes regarding a number of compliance and policy matters. The statement headed “Important lessons for the Gambling industry on anti-money laundering and social responsibility controls” considers the following Operational aspects:
With regards money laundering, following the engagement between Ladbrokes and the Commission it was agreed that there was a clear need for significant improvements, particularly in relation to the following:
All licensed gambling operators are required to have in place effective policies and procedures to identify and manage the risks to the licensing objectives arising from the business and therefore measures including those set out above should be complied with.
The Commission now intends to amend its Guidance in order that operators might more easily understand how to deliver their concurrent obligations of identifying and interacting with players at risk and observing their obligations under the Proceeds Of Crime Act 2002.
The full statement can be found clicking here
Posted: 03 Nov 2013 04:00 PM PST
We have periodically kept you updated on the latest review of stakes and prizes for gaming machines.
For our most recent article see the link here: Gaming – Triennial News.
Posted: 31 Oct 2013 05:00 PM PDT
The newly published Chambers & Partners 2014 Guide to the Legal Profession has, in a marked departure from previous editions, introduced a new national category for ‘Leaders in Licensing’.
We are pleased to note and be able to confirm that we are one of a limited number of firms to come within the top rated Band 1 for licensing nationally with multi-partner endorsement and with the quoted comment: “A super client list. Increasingly seen in Scotland.”
We would not achieve this ranking without the support of clients and staff alike, which we are happy to acknowledge and for which we are very grateful.
High blood pressure affects as many 16 million people in the UK today. As it’s usually symptomless it often goes undetected and left untreated, it can lead to serious conditions like heart attacks and stroke. An increasing number of businesses are developing supportive working environments and promoting healthier lifestyles to keep themselves and their staff in business. Read our guide below and you’ll find out how a couple of small steps can make a big difference when it comes to looking after your blood pressure.
Introducing a few small changes to your workplace
- Start walking meetings – Not only do you keep yourself active, you’ll find meetings can be far more productive and engaging!
- Encourage competition – Walking is fantastic exercise for all levels of fitness so set up a weekly challenge amongst your team using a free smartphone Pedometer app and celebrate with those who hit their targets.
- Promote the use of bikes – Consider introducing the Cycle to Work scheme or negotiate a discount scheme with a local retailer and ensure you have bike racks available.
- Support national or local sports events to get your staff involved – There are an increasing number of activities which don’t require months of intensive training and are great for team building as well as raising money for charity, such as The Color Run and The British Heart Foundation Events.
- Develop your internal communications – Introduce a monthly health bulletin using our one of our ‘Top ten tips for reducing your blood pressure’ which are detailed below. Place posters in stairwells and start incorporating your health information into new starter packs, or simply talk to your team about ideas for health and fitness to encourage participation.
Share our top ten tips to reduce blood pressure Prevention is always better than cure, and while you can make changes within your business to help you and your staff to lead a healthy lifestyle, enabling them to take control of their heart health will be of benefit to them in the long term.
1. Add flavour, not salt Salt increases your blood pressure, so avoid adding it to your food, especially at the table. There are lots of other ways to add flavour in cooking – use a splash of red wine in stews and casseroles, sprinkle herbs, spices and a drizzle of honey on your roast vegetables, or add balsamic or rice vinegar to salads. Always check your food for salt content, especially in everyday items like cereal or bread.
2. Lose five pounds Weight is a big risk factor for developing high blood pressure. But losing just five pounds can make a big difference. Try swapping your frying pan for a grill when cooking meat, sprinkle dried fruit on your cereal instead of sugar, and have a glass of water instead of that sugary drink.
3. Be full of beans Eating potassium-rich foods like white beans, dark leafy greens, tuna, bananas and potatoes (with skin on) will help your kidneys get rid of excess fluid and sodium from your bloodstream, reducing your blood pressure.
4. Walk it off Taking regular exercise helps to lower your blood pressure and strengthen your heart. Walking, jogging, dancing, swimming or cycling are all good ways to get your recommended 30 minutes of exercise five times a week.
5. Take deep breaths Stress causes temporary spikes in your blood pressure, which is best avoided, especially if your pressure is high anyway. Try a few relaxation techniques, like deep breathing. Exercise and sleep are also great ways to reduce stress.
6. Get back to your roots While more studies are needed to confirm this, a recent British Heart Foundation study showed that drinking a cup of beetroot juice a day could reduce your blood pressure. Beetroot is high in nitrate, which widens the veins and arteries, helping the blood to flow.
7. Stick to just the limit Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure over time. But you don’t have to give up – sticking to the limit of up to 14 units for women and 21 units for men, in addition to taking an alcohol-free ‘mini-break’ for a couple of days midweek can be enough to reduce your health risks.
8. Don’t skip breakfast A new Harvard study suggests that having breakfast within one hour of getting up can help to lower your risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease. The study identified that men who skip breakfast are more likely to gain weight, to develop diabetes, to have hypertension and to have high cholesterol. Try porridge with a banana sliced on top and you’ll be on your way to five-a-day before you even leave the house.
9. Get it checked If you don’t know your blood pressure, get it checked. It’s recommended that healthy adults aged over 40 should have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years. Your doctor can advise if you need any treatment or medication.
10. Stop smoking High blood pressure reduces blood flow through your body. Smoking makes this even worse by clogging up your arteries. As soon as you stop smoking, you’ll notice the health benefits, and your risk of heart disease drops dramatically within just one year.
Further Information There are a great number of resources which you can access for free to keep you informed about blood pressure, including;