John Harris

Journalist & Author

Do you fear for the future of your local pub? | John Harris

Pubcos are threatening the existence of traditional boozers. We’re looking for stories about local pubs facing the squeeze

For its next instalment, Anywhere but Westminster is going down the pub. To be more specific, we’re aiming to look closely at the decline of British boozers, their place in millions of lives, and an overlooked aspect of what some people call irresponsible capitalism.

The idea was sparked by a pre-Christmas read of Paul Moody and Robin Turner’s great book Looking for the Moon Under Water: The Search for the Perfect Pub (extracted here, with a G2 spinoff here). Around 20 British pubs close every week, and a few factors are blamed – among them, the smoking ban and the rock-bottom price of alcohol in supermarkets. But there is another story: the imbalanced relationship between big pub companies (or pubcos) and their tenants, and the government’s failure to do much about it.

The issue seems simple enough: as countless publicans see it, these firms charge tenants above-market prices for drinks and repeatedly squeeze them even further by upping rents. To make things worse, the government is clinging to that tired and useless notion known as self-regulation, having so far only agreed to set up an independent panel to review how it works, rather than doing what a lot of people want and coming down on the pubcos much harder. MPs’ postbags and inboxes are full of correspondence about all this, and it was the subject of a Commons debate back in January.

Over to the Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland:

“The business model of the pubcos has been akin to the banks. They overvalued their estates, borrowed vast amounts of money against that and when the property market collapsed, they found their ludicrous valuations were wrong and they suddenly found themselves billions of pounds in debt. They are trying to service those debts – mainly with foreign creditors – by taking more and more from the turnover of each pub.”

So, do you know of a pub being squeezed, or even threatened with closure? If it wasn’t there, what would be missing from your town, and your life? How can the pubcos be resisted? And what can be done to save this blessed institution?

As well as the thread below, you can also email us at anywherebutwestminster@gmail.com

guardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 at 7:29 pm and is filed under Guardian RSS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. « Emma Harrison of A4e’s big mistake? Not keeping her head down | John Harris | How police privatisation was recast as common sense | John Harris »
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

John Harris is powered by WordPress 2.8.4 Entries (RSS) Comments (RSS). Designed by Hywel Harris

ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Galactic Elite W Blanc Cheap Womens AF Sublimation Graphic Tee 2016 Adidas Originals ZX Flux Weave Shoes Sale Mens AF Active Running Shorts Online ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Duramo 6 W Running White Ftw Metallic Silver Vivid Mint F14 Mens AF Washed Out Tee AF 2016 ADIDAS ORIGINALS Court Star Slim W Sale Mens AF Classic Taper Pants Online Adidas Running adizero XT 5 Shoes Cheap Womens AF Textured Open Cardigan 2016 Mens AF Varsity Logo Cardigan AF 2016 ADIDAS ORIGINALS Zx 700 W Sabpou Sabpou Noiess Mens AF Striped Icon Henley AF 2016 ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Duramo 6 W Earth Green S13 Tech Grey Met S14 Solar Pink Mens AF Premium Utility Jacket AF 2016 ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Response Aspire Str W Running White Ftw Pink Buzz S10 Light Grey Sale Mens AF Denim Joggers Online ADIDAS ORIGINALS Extaball W Noiess Ormeta Nuiflu Mens AF Quilted Bomber jacket AF 2016 ADIDAS ORIGINALS Tech Super W NOIR NOIR ROSSOL Mens AF Classic Chambray Shirt AF 2016 ADIDAS ORIGINALS Bankshot 2 0 W Aluminum 2 Aluminum 2 Chalk 2 Mens AF Rib-Trim Crew Sweater AF 2016 Adidas Women adidas Neo Zip Fleece Hoodie New Womens AF High Rise Cropped Flare Sateen Pants 2016 ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Duramo 6 W Running White Ftw Metallic Silver Glow S14 New Womens AF Denim Mini Skirt 2016 Adidas Men Originals Plimcana 2 0 Low Shoes New Womens AF Lace Midi Skirt 2016 ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Duramo 6 W Noiess Noiess Rosflu Men Running adizero Tempo Boost 7 Shoes ADIDAS ORIGINALS Extaball Up W Noiess Noiess Ftwbla ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Galaxy W Neon Pink Metallic Silver Black 1 Men Running Springblade Ignite Shoes