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Thursday 22 January 2015

Scary Muslims Closed My Pub

The excuses put forward by the PubCos and their supporters for the closure of so many pubs over the years know no bounds. That PubCos like Punch, now weighed down with debt after an ill-advised expansion of its business some time ago, force their tenants to buy beer at extortionate prices while charging them whatever rent they can get away with, driving many out of the industry, is not mentioned.
Nor is the tendency of PubCos that do not have brewing interests to treat their estates of pubs as property chips on some life-size Monopoly board, cashing them in by selling them off to housing developers and supermarkets. Roadhouse pubs built in the early 20th Century, with their large footprints, are particularly vulnerable to this practice. And the recently proposed law to ease the “beer tie” is now coming under threat.

That is because the brewing establishment is lobbying hard to maintain the status quo, as the legislation passes through the House of Lords. Here, Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbots, formerly a director of brewer and PubCo business Marstons, has been making mischief, while tarnishing the name of that firm. Marstons, of all the big brewers, at least has a half decent reputation for its beers and pubs.

Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland has attacked Lord Hodgson over his proposed amendment to what is known as the Market Rent Only option, or MRO. According to the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, Mulholland warned “His amendments seek to undermine, sidestep and water down the all important MRO”. But Lord Hodgson does not possess the greatest credibility, as the Birmingham Mail revealed recently.

A former boss of Midland brewer Marston’s has blamed Britain’s growing Muslim population for the collapse in pub numbers. Tory peer Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts made the claim in a debate on whether to grant more freedom to landlords tied to big firms” it reported last month. He claimed that this factor “played a much bigger role in the decline in pubs than ‘rapacious’ chains”.

That may come as news to residents in towns like Crewe, which does not have a Muslim population large enough to support a Mosque (the Masjid in a house on Electricity Street hardly counts), yet has seen several pubs close recently including three in the Hightown area - partly because less people live there - and four roadhouse pubs, one of which has been demolished to facilitate building of a new supermarket.

Lord Hodgson is unrepentant: “In areas of Nottingham, Leicester, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham the increase in the Muslim population who don’t drink leads to many pub closures”. Yeah, right. That’s why the best independent pubs are doing well, no doubt. It’s no use blaming Muslims, or other non-drinkers. The PubCo is a curse on many thousands of pubs and the communities they serve. He needs to understand that.

Then he can leave Muslim-blaming to the press. They are, after all, rather good at it.

1 comment:

SteveB said...

There is actually a madder claim there than just blaming them for pub closures. He says they don't drink - of course they drink, they'll die if they don't (or is he suggesting piles of dehydrated corpses are scaring off the other customers....?). You don't have to drink ALCOHOL to use a pub, in fact given the mark up on soft drinks, teetotalers ought to be very welcome in pubs.

Having failed biology, he should move on to maths. The number of muslims in Britain is rising, agreed. But these mostly aren't conversions of existing customers, sorry, christians etc. The number of people who do drink alcohol is unaffected by this rise and ought to be rising as well. Where they live may change but overall the number of potential customers for pubs is rising (even excluding muslims who won't pay 600% mark up on J20 etc) .

So there must be another reason why these companies are failing. Such as having arseholes like him as directors.....