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GMB meeting Cable officials on pubs

GMB to meet officials from Vince Cable's office today (19thNovember) on self regulation and on economic dispute in the pub sector.

We need to be convinced that Vince Cable wants to make self regulation work and is not going through the motions and to see a rebalancing of “risk” and "reward" between tied tenants and the property companies says GMB.

Dave Mountford, the GMB Branch Secretary who represents pub tied tenants, is to meet officials from the offices of Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills today (Monday 19th ) to discuss the four questions raised by Vince Cable on November 7th on self-regulation and he will also raise the economic dispute in the sector. Dave will be accompanied by another GMB member involved the tied pub sector.

GMB is now engaged in gathering evidence from tied pub tenants and GMB has until November 23rd to respond with written evidence to these four questions and on the wider economic dispute between tied tenants and pubcos.

Last week GMB announced that it had set up mobile app that will make it easy for tied tenants to provide confidential information regarding their own experience of with their pubco and whether they have seen any improvements due the self-regulation introduced last year. This follows a recent tweet to a GMB tied tenant by pub minister Jo Swinson asking the tenant to put her case forward as part of the evidence gathering. See notes to editors for more info on the app which can be accessed at  http://apps.twinpier.co.uk/appm/mvarv85ejgusl.

Dave Mountford, GMB branch secretary, said; “I will discuss with officials from Vince Cables office how working tied tenants can be helped to make sure the Secretary of State has an up to date view of what is happening in the industry.

Britain’s pubs are a community asset as well as commercial businesses. The half that are owned by the property companies are saddled with debts payable to bondholders in offshore tax havens and are struggling.

The root problem is that investors loaded the pubcos with debts to take advantage of tax relief on interest payments. They are another example of excessive leverage across the economy in the likes of AA, Southern Cross, Four Seasons Healthcare and Boots. These debts are part of wall of debt of £111 billion that buyout companies in the UK will have to refinance over the next five years.

GMB will fight to get pubs separated from the debts as that is what they need to thrive. If fair rents are fixed the pubcos will not be able to meet the interest bill, and like Southern Cross, they will be forced into administration. When that day dawns there will be three cheers from tied tenants.

GMB do not consider self- regulation to be the answer but we will go over the ground that BIS want to look at and discuss how to keep the dialogue moving for the benefit of tied tenants. If there is to be self- regulation it has to be real and not a sham.

We need to be convinced that Vince Cable wants to make it work and is not going through the motions. We have to see a rebalancing of “risk” and “reward” between tied tenants and the property companies”.

End

Contact: Dave Mountford 07794 021 212 or 01629 258 083 or 07916 154359 or GMB Press Office: Steve Pryle on 07921 289880 or Rose Conroy on 07974 251823.

Notes to Editors

The form uses Social Media, Facebook and Smartphones and is simple and quick to use, allowing the user to provide information regarding any dispute they may have and how it is being resolved. The information will be sent to the GMB Matlock Branch which is collating the information and intends to pass this to Jo Swinson as part of the GMB’s evidence gathering

The idea was put forward to Dave Mountford, Secretary of Matlock Branch and co ordinator of the GMB’s support for tied tenants, by a GMB member who was in contact with pubs minister Jo Swinson through Twitter.

The member, who is in dispute with Enterprise Inns was asked via Twitter by Jo Swinson to put her case forward as part of the evidence gathering. She contacted GMB Matlock who set up the app which can be accessed here.http://apps.twinpier.co.uk/appm/mvarv85ejgusl.

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