Leeds Pubs Meeting

8 Sep 2010

GMB, the union for pub tenants, has invited pubco tenants in Leeds to a closed meeting next week to discuss a new GMB survey which shows that tied tenants in the City are being charged dry rents which are up to 4 times the levels assessed by official government agency charged by law to establish fair open market rents.

The meeting will take place at 5pm on Tuesday, 14th September 2010 at the Civic Hall on Calverley Street, LS1 1UR.

The survey results on Leeds rents are in line with results from across Britain which shows that GMB members tenants in tied pubs pay rents for their pubs to their pubcos which are up to four times the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) assessment of what are fair market rents for the same pubs based on a formula agreed between VOA and pubco body BBPA.

The 1988 Local Government Act in schedule 6 sets out that the rateable value for a pub for the purpose of collecting the Uniform Business Rate should be equal to the open market rent and sets out how this should be assessed. Hayley Brennan, GMB lead organiser for pub tenants will address the meeting. She said:

“Pubcos have promised tenants that they will charge open market rents but in reality the pubcos massively overcharge on dry rents. Current wet and dry rents take no account of the massive decline that has taken place in alcohol consumption in tied pubs since 2004. The overall decline in alcohol consumption in society has coincided with the private equity inspired financial engineering in tied pubs that has gone badly wrong. This has resulted in sky high rents for tied pubs giving rise to inflated prices which drive customers away. This has led to an even greater decline in alcohol consumption in tied pub meaning very low income for the tied tenants and pub closures on a weekly basis as tenants are forced to walk away often with massive debts.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss how to take the campaign forward in Leeds to stop pubs that survived the Blitz and the 1930s slump from going under. At this meeting I want to discuss realistic strategies to encourage Leeds tied tenants to unite into a trade union to exercise their rights as directed workers to take industrial action to secure lower dry and wet rents to give them a decent living and stop their pubs closing. I also want to discuss alternative strategies to involve customers and politicians in a major campaign to secure changes in legislation to abolish the beer tie and secure fair rents.  I will update the meeting on legal cases GMB is taking for its members on issues like Brulines fines and other matters.”