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  • New regulations provide greater detail to publicans about allowances for beer wastage, says BBPA

    11 April 2019

    The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has today responded to the publication of new guidance by the Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) for beer wastage allowances. The new guidance was published on Wednesday 10thApril and comes into effect from Monday 1stJuly. It seeks to give greater transparency to publicans on the inclusion of wastage allowances in their rent calculations. The new guidance comes after the PCA consulted the industry on the matter at the end of 2018. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments: “Brewers and pub operators have always made allowances for beer wastage to account for beer that can’t be sold. The BBPA therefore supported the PCA’s proposals to make these clearer and more transparent. “Unfortunately, in the new guidance, the PCA has increased the complexity of how allowances should be calculated and presented. This may confuse, rather than help, publicans. It will also lead to higher administrative costs and complexity for pub operators, who will need to modify their systems to reflect the greater detail now required. “The new guidance acknowledges that there could be situations where third party suppliers are unable to provide pub operators with all of the information they require.”

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  • BBPA welcomes House of Lords report on regenerating seaside towns

    04 April 2019

    The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has today welcomed a new report by the House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns and Communities, titled: “The Future of Seaside Towns”. The report, which BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds contributed to through a Select Committee hearing, notes how many seaside towns continue to rely on tourism and hospitality as key economic drivers. Launched during English Tourism Week – the annual celebration of tourism in England – the report has fittingly recommended that a Sector Deal for Tourism could play a key role in regenerating seaside towns. In particular, it proposes that efforts are made to promote and champion hospitality – a key part of England’s tourism offer – as a rewarding and exciting career. Likewise, the report has noted concerns with regards to future Government migration policy, reflecting the views of the BBPA that any future immigration system must ensure that tourism and hospitality businesses, so crucial to seaside towns, have access to talent from abroad. Local leadership is identified in the report as being key to helping seaside towns regenerate and grow, as shown by Brighton, Colwyn Bay and Bogner Regis, who all reached the finals of the Great British High Street Awards. Investment and work undertaken by Dan Davies, CEO of Rockpoint Leisure, in New Brighton is also shown in the report as an example of how hospitality can play a leading role in the regeneration of seaside towns. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments: “We welcome this report and its recognition of the leading role hospitality and tourism businesses like pubs can play in the regeneration of seaside towns. “To help seaside towns prosper, it is vital that businesses like pubs get all the support they can to drive growth. It is encouraging that the report sees a Sector Deal for Tourism as playing a key role in regenerating seaside towns and that efforts should be made to champion and promote careers in the pub, hospitality and tourism industries. “Local licensing and planning authorities working together in support of the Agent of Change principle are also key to the future success of our seaside towns if they are to have a vibrant night time economy. It is important too that Local Economic Partnerships deliver on their core objectives to promote local economic growth and do not isolate coastal areas that are hard to tackle.”

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  • Rates revaluation - pubs must act quickly to avoid fines and red tape, warns BBPA

    29 March 2019

    If they haven’t already, pubs will soon receive a form of return from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) Publicans have just 56 days to complete and return the form, or they could be liable for a penalty Failure to respond could also mean higher business rates bills and fines, BBPA warns pubs The BBPA is alerting publicans that they need to act quickly in response to a looming letter from the VOA about their rateable valuation, if they want to avoid fines and unnecessary ‘red tape’. The call comes because the VOA is once again commencing the data collection process ahead of the next revaluation period, which commences in April 2021. As is practice, the VOA are now writing to licensees requesting trading data that will feed into the revaluation process. This information will be used to calculate the rateable value of every pub in England and Wales, which forms the basis on which every pub’s business rates bill is calculated. From receiving the forms, publicans have an initial 28 days to respond, followed by a second reminder two weeks later, which provides a further two weeks to reply. If the form isn’t returned within this 56 day time-limit, publicans could be liable for a penalty, as well as a longer form to fill out for the VOA. If publicans have any questions about the survey, the VOA encourages the publicans to contact them directly. BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds comments: “To avoid more hassle and unnecessary paperwork, all licensees should look out for this short form from today and return it as soon as possible. While we continue to lead the call for a fairer rating system for pubs and a total review of business rates, further burdens and inconvenience can be avoided by looking out for this short form from the VOA and acting quickly to fill it in as soon as it arrives.”

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  • BBPA responds to new study calculating alcohol cancer risk in cigarette equivalents

    28 March 2019

    The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has today responded to a new study calculating alcohol cancer risk in cigarette equivalents. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “This is an absurd study which does little to educate people about the harms of excessive alcohol consumption. “Scientific research continues to support that beer consumed in moderation can be part of a balanced lifestyle and diet, when consumed by healthy adults without underlying medical conditions. “It is irresponsible and confusing to try and equate the risks of smoking and drinking alcohol. It is often the case that those who drink heavily also smoke heavily, which greatly increases the risk of developing cancer. The impact on health from smoking is clear and this study risks undermining important public health messages about the dangers of smoking at any level.”

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  • BBPA welcomes additional government funding for Pub is the Hub

    26 March 2019

    The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has today welcomed additional government funding forPub is the Hub, the organisation that helps bring communities together by expanding their services beyond food and drink. The additional government funding – worth £188,000 – will be used for 76 new projects, which will see rural pubs deliver additional services including new Post Office facilities, grocery shops and libraries. Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “As the original social network, pubs are at the heart of our communities and play a vital role in our lives by bringing us together. “The pub is far more than just a place to eat and drink. The work of Pub is the Hubwith funding and expert support shows how vital pubs can be to delivering other services of community value from Post Office facilities to grocery shops and libraries. “This additional Pub is the Hubfunding will boost rural, community pubs across the UK, helping them remain viable. Pub is the Hub is a great charity which everyone in brewing and pubs supports. This additional funding will encourage others to support it too.”

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  • People are key to hospitality, so we should do more to support charities like Only a Pavement Away

    Brigid Simmonds | 22 March 2019

    A version of this blog originally appeared in Propel Hospitality This week, I had the privilege of attending a conference about Only a Pavement Away (OAPA) – an inspiring charity looking to help homeless people, ex-prisoners and vulnerable military veterans find work in hospitality. Greg Mangham set up OAPA after walking through Covent Garden one night with his wife, who commented that not all the homeless people they saw could possibly be unemployable.  She challenged him to do something about it (!) and OAPA was born. OAPA’s ambition is to employ 500 homeless people in the hospitality industry within its first year.  Greg’s mantra is that through employment people gain stability and if you find them the right job, they will be loyal for life. The name Only a Pavement Away comes from the fact that we are all just a pavement away from seeing homelessness and the crime and loneliness often associated with it on the streets. We are also just a pavement away from cafes, bars and hotels that are crying out for staff. The statistics surrounding homelessness and unemployment make for difficult reading. 12,000 offenders commit their first offence whilst homeless.  On average there are 5,000 rough sleepers across the UK each night. 7% of the homeless are ex-service, 33% are ex-offenders. Offenders cost the tax payer on average £46,000.  Average life expectancy on the streets is just 46 years old. 92% of service personnel leave the services in good health, but 48% of leavers are unemployed 6 months later. A third of prison leavers have no-where to stay when they leave prison (but say they do to ensure they are released). 25% of the population have a criminal record. Now just imagine what a difference we as hospitality businesses – whether it be pubs, bars, cafés or restaurants – could make if we opened our doors to this untapped talent pool? OAPA plays a key role in enabling this, by acting as conduit between charities like Crisis, Centre Point and The Clink, and hospitality businesses or sector representatives like ourselves. It helps overcome potential hurdles by ensuring that prospective employees come via a charity or association prepared to continue their support into employment. As Kate Nicholls rightly points out, the hospitality sector is faced with critical recruitment and retention challenges. I firmly believe it is schemes like OAPA that will help us make up the shortfall we face in talent, combined with our focus on wellbeing for employees, best in class employment packages and flexibility. The first movers who have taken on Only A Pavement Away candidates are already seeing the benefits. Abi Dunlop from Young and Co spoke passionately at the conference of the benefits their business has had from the scheme, which far outweigh the additional time and investment it took to get it up and running. The role of the charities in providing ongoing support to candidates is absolutely key according to Abi, but we as a sector need to keep our side of the bargain by showing candidates the opportunities we provide through OAPA. Of course, even more important than the talent pool OAPA opens up for our sector is the fact that it is helping vulnerable people in real need of support. Just how vulnerable some of the people in the OAPA network can be was illustrated by Ed Mitchell at the conference, a former journalist whose marriage had broken apart. This, combined with an alcohol problem, had resulted in him living on the streets.  His story of how he came out of this situation with help from charities and OAPA was touching and a real inspiration for hospitality businesses to get involved in OAPA, although he was the first to admit that he still felt very vulnerable. Tim Foster of Yummy Pubs – another pub operator working with OAPA – summed it up best: the success stories of those who come from OAPA far outweigh the failures, and at the end of the day, people are at the core of our businesses, embracing them is vital. OAPA is certainly a charity we should all support.  Many are doing so already and should be commended as such.  Without doubt there will be challenges to make it work, but we all need to remember the brilliant employee we will have at the end and the wider benefits of providing vulnerable people stability and support through employment.

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