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Tenant facing eviction in David Cameron's constituency proves 'need for pubco reform'

Added: Tuesday, May 7th 2013

Greg Mulholland

The possible eviction of a popular pub landlord in Prime Minister David Cameron's Oxfordshire constitutency as a result of rent demands from a giant pub company has highlighted the need for urgent "pubco" reform, according to campaigners. 

Simon Moore has run the Cheqeurs Inn in Witney for 12 years but he faces eviction after struggling to pay the high rents charged by Enterprise Inns. The pub’s annual turnover averaged £230,000 a year but the rent Enterprise demanded was equivalent to almost 40% of the total. 

The Witney case comes one week after the launch of a new national campaign Fair Deal for Your Local that calls on the government to stop the exploitation of licensees by large pub owning companies by enshrining in law the long-standing principle that a tied licensee should not be worse off than a free-of-tie publican.

Greg Mulholland MP, campaign co-ordinator for Fair Deal For Your Local and chair of the Parliamentary Pub Group (pictured), says:  "The closure of the Chequers in David Cameron's own constituency should highlight to the Prime Minister and the rest of the government the need for real pubco reform. 

“It is high time we had a fair deal for our local pubs. The Great British pub is a unique institution and important for communities, the economy and for tourism. We have lost too many of them due to the unfair business practices of the large pubcos. It's time government stopped overcharging by pubcos. If they do, our hard-working licensees can at last make a fair living, which will not only save pubs, but will also be a huge boost for the economy locally and nationally. 

“Fair Deal for Your Local is calling for a statutory code for large pub owning companies, which includes in it the option for tied publicans to only pay a fair, independently assessed market rent to the pub owning company - a ‘market rent only’ option. This will finally make the tie work as it should also bring down the cost of a pint in pubs owned by pub companies." Dave Mountford, the tied pubs spokesman for the GMB trade union, added: "Simon Moore's experience is typical of what is, tragically, a common occurrence for tied tenants and licensees. The GMB wants to highlight to David Camerons just how frequently viable pubs are forced to close as a direct result of this unjust system. The GMB protest at this eviction as another tied tenants loses his livelihood is to say loud and clear that the time has come to end this rigged market and replace it with an open free market. The current system is leaving Simon Moore homeless."