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Acas Breakfast Briefing - Zero Hours Contracts

On 24/07/14 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, which deals with pub companies, includes clauses to outlaw the use of exclusivity agreements in Zero Hours Contracts. Whilst a number of pub companies use Zero Hours Contracts, none that we are aware of have exclusivity agreements, but it was very useful timing to be invited by Sir Brendan Barbour the Chairman of Acas to a breakfast briefing to discuss further.

We heard from a range of speakers, starting with Anne Sharpe the CEO of Acas who set the scene in talking about a-typical contracts, workers rights to holiday and sickness pay, but the practical aspects of zero hours where an employee turns down a shift and is then not offered anymore and the lack of trust that can exist with these contracts. She did point out that there is a danger that any legislation will deal with today’s problems and not tomorrows, so we need to make sure that legislation is future-proof.

Ian Brinkley from the Work Foundation and a lecturer at Lancaster University said that the share of permanent jobs of the workforce in 1993 was 79% and recent figures have shown that it is now just under 79%, so not much change here and perhaps not as much growth in flexible working as expected. The change if there is one, is that managers now control work – they decide who they need when. The number of those on Zero Hours Contracts has been revised up from 200,000 to 1.4 million and may be more. Whilst there are many more who are satisfied with these contracts than those who are dissatisfied, there is a tendency for these contracts to be offered to those who are low skilled. It is therefore incumbent on employers and employees to be aware of their rights and responsibilities.

Sally Hunt is the General Secretary of the University and College Union and spoke passionately about the misuse of Zero Hours Contracts in this sector. She spoke of a lecturer who every year only received confirmation of hours two days before term started and who had no guarantee of holiday pay during the summer vacation.

In our discussion at the end, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association countered this view with statistics that the number of people in their sector on zero hours contracts had fallen by 11% in the last year and that any figures included visiting lecturers, musicians etc. This opened the door for Acas to offer mediation!
The same was true for the second case study from Colin Angel of Homecare Association. There are 410,000 employees who work on average 21 hours a week. 50% to 75% are on Zero Hours Contracts. He blamed much of this on the price set by local authorities for the service which they feel is underfunded. The LGA took a different view and so again perhaps Acas can help!

Ian Brinkley said that he believed that if more use could be made of proper forecasting there would be no need for zero hours contracts. I pointed out that if you ran a pub in Essex last weekend with flooding there was likely to have been no one in the pub. In central London where the promised rain failed to fall; the pubs were packed. It is difficult to forecast when you are weather dependent.

Where does this leave the pub industry? The Acas policy discussion paper which you can find on their website, suggested that 11% of callers to their helpline came from the ‘hotel and restaurant’ sector by Standard Industrial Classifications. Our research shows that companies use Zero Hours Contracts, but that banning exclusivity agreements will not really affect our sector. In addition to the ban, however, there is a promise from BIS of guidance too. I think we all started out thinking that generic guidance might work, but listening to the very different issues in different sectors, it may be that more specific guidance to cover leisure and hospitality would work better. BBPA will continue to work with BIS to find a suitable solution. It is probably worth noting that a future Labour Government would go further.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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Business Improvement Districts for town centres and tourism

On 09/07/14 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have existed in the UK since 2003. There are now over 185, mainly in town and city centres, where businesses fund additional services to improve and market their local area. Over £40 million per annum has been raised by local BID member businesses and they are a great example of partnership working. At a recent presentation I made in Southport to the British Destinations Association, I found that several destinations are now looking to establish Tourism BIDs (or T-Bids) -certainly something of interest to brewing and pubs.

Nottingham had the first BID dedicated to the night-time economy and although this has now been absorbed into the retail BID, nightlife in Nottingham remains a key focus. Their budget, paid for by a levy of 1% on business rate payers, raised about £260,000 a year. It supported events like the food and drinks festival; it paid for taxi marshals on Friday and Saturday nights; it introduced and supported Best Bar None and commissioned murals for vacant units in the city centre.

Tourism BIDs are slightly different. Conventional BIDs tend to be in fairly narrowly defined local authority areas. TBIDs can cover a much wider geographical spread. Normally in a BID, all businesses situated within a specific area make a contribution which is between 1% and 4% of rateable value. Whilst the contribution might not change, in a TBID the criteria can be based on footfall, revenue per available room or sales and the contributors can be defined by the type of service they provide and the sector within which they operate.

So why is this important to brewers and publicans? Well, pubs are important to all tourism destinations and third on the list of things to do for overseas visitors to the UK. A vibrant night-time economy is also important to tourist destinations, as is a range of retail and leisure outlets on their high street. Dartmoor, Great Yarmouth, Greenwich, Cornwall, Bournemouth Coastal, Birmingham & Solihull are all looking at establishing TBIDs to help them enhance their destination and make them more attractive to visitors.

Yesterday I was in Bournemouth to attend the next meeting of the Future High Streets Forum, chaired by Brandon Lewis MP, our Minister for Pubs. Business Improvement Districts form one of a suite of ways of working in partnership which the BBPA supports – so much better than a Late Night Levy!

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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Young scientists symposium for the brewing, distilling and malting sectors

On 04/07/14 by Simon Jackson (Executive Director, Institute of Brewing and Distilling )

Back in 2008, a number of professors from universities around the world approached the IBD to see if they would become the co-organiser of what was hoped would become a regular learning event for young scientists and technologists working in the brewing, distilling and malting sectors.
The concept played well to the ambition of the IBD to increase its support and nurturing of young talent, particularly in the context of an overall reduction in research investment within the sectors – in this context the relevant Universities now play a more important role in original research.

University College Cork stepped up to the plate to hold the first event in 2008. It was a great success, and confirmed the need for this meeting of young talent, providing those involved with a personal development opportunity whilst also sharing knowledge and develop networks within the sectors. These networks are an essential component of an ongoing cross-industry cohort of research and innovation technologists without which no sector can thrive.

Having created the momentum, there have been subsequent symposia at the Technical University of Munich (Weihenstephan) in 2010, and at the University of Nottingham in 2012. Planning for the fourth symposium, to be held at the Catholic University Leuven, Ghent, is well advanced.
The symposia have been well supported by a number of UK universities and research institutes - and many of the participants have gone on to present their work at IBD, EBC and other conventions. Equally importantly, it is encouraging to see participants taking up roles within the sector, thereby fulfilling the objective of attracting new talent.

The fourth YSS will be held from 28th to 30th October 2014 in Ghent – full information can be found on the Young Scientists Symposium website.

The IBD is grateful to the IBD/BBPA Grants Committee for their assistance in supporting the YSS – this is providing underpinning support to the symposium, as well as a number of grants for young scientists and technologists from across the British Isles to attend.

BBPA members should be aware that a bursary is available for staff that would be interested in attending the conference. The deadline for applications is 31st August.

For further information about the symposium or bursary please contact

Simon Jackson
Executive Director, Institute of Brewing and Distilling


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Employment Roundtable with the Department of Work and Pensions

On 01/07/14 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

Good recruitment, training and retention are key objectives for all members of the BBPA and this was very much the theme of the recent round table with Esther McVey MP, the Minister for Employment at the Department of Work and Pensions.

DWP are responsible for JobCentre Plus and we know from our Jobs Working Group that companies have variable success with local offices. BBPA has been working with DWP on helping JobCentre Plus understand our industry better through ‘Hospitality Works’ a series of phone-in’s, where BBPA members explain our sector and who we are looking to employ. The most recent two sessions were in London with Youngs and in Scotland with Maclays.

Whilst we are a long way from full employment in the UK, most external evidence suggests that there is a reduction in the number of people looking for work which will in future make the competition harder and recruitment policies more important. We heard a presentation on ‘The Good Recruitment Campaign’ which is being led by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation. They are looking for companies to sign ‘The Good Recruitment Charter’ which covers recruitment practice including youth employment through the provision of apprenticeships and traineeships. There is a pledge about feedback to candidates and making sure this clear and specific to the person. If you are interested in becoming a signatory see

Some industries are struggling with an ageing workforce. The Hire Sector is one of these and so they signed up to an scheme called LifeMaps in partnership with the Army for a group of long term unemployed young people. The Army were looking for reservists and the two weeks of training revolved around teamwork, leadership and problem solving as well as an overview of the hire sector and tool and equipment appreciation. As a result Jewson offered three an apprenticeship.

We are making our own industry overtures to those military personnel scheduled to be leaving the armed forces in the next twelve to eighteen months. The BII is working with Arrochar Associates who are the only training provider specifically accredited to offer MOD-funded hospitality training to serving personnel as they think about a career in licensed hospitality. The two organisations teamed up last week to exhibit – alongside Everards – at a regional event in Oxford organised by British Forces Resettlement Society – for hundreds of potential candidates.

We need to put our best foot forward as an industry to appeal to our potential workforce of the future. Our Pub Chefs film, which was welcomed by the Minister as timely and relevant, is part of a broader industry effort to challenge negative perceptions of our industry and showcase the range of opportunities available. As the economy picks up, that job becomes all the more important.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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The Annual Barrelage Survey 2013

On 24/06/14 by Mark Tettenborn (Policy & Statistics Officer)

The BBPA has published Annual Barrelage Survey results for 2013. The Survey showed the total beer market down 0.1 per cent on 2012, with a 3.4 per cent decline in on trade sales and a 3.5 per cent increase in off trade sales.

Over the full year on trade sales accounted for 50.8 per cent of the total market with off trade sales making up the remaining 49.2 per cent. It remains to be seen whether 2014 will see off trade sales overtaking on trade sales.

Sales of lighter beers (beers between 1.2% and 2.8% ABV) continued to grow in 2013. Lower strength beer duty, introduced in 2011 and offering a 50% duty reduction for beers of 2.8% ABV or below, as well as growing consumer demand for a lower strength alternative, are likely to have contributed to this strong performance.

Cask ale sales were up, achieving their highest market share since 2002. Another standout performer was premium bottled ale, which continued its long trend of growing sales.

Mark Tettenborn
Policy & Statistics Officer


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Sandi Toksvig to host the 2014 BBPA Annual Dinner & Awards!

On 20/06/14 by Sophie McIntyre

BBPA is delighted to announce that the host for this year’s BBPA Annual Dinner and Awards will be the famed comedian, novelist and broadcaster – Sandi Toksvig.

Sandi placed her feet firmly in the arts and entertainment world early on. Whilst studying at Cambridge University, she wrote and performed at the legendary Footlights, where contemporaries included big names such as Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Tony Slattery, and Emma Thompson.

Since then she has gone on to become a well known face in the world of British entertainment and was recently awarded an OBE for her services to broadcasting. She currently presents The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4; is the new presenter of 15–to-1; and, often appears as a panellist in comedy shows such as Call My Bluff (a regular as a team captain), QI and Have I Got News for You, Mock the Week, I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, and Whose Line Is It Anyway?

She has written more than twenty fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults and contributes regular columns to Good Housekeeping, the Sunday Telegraph and the Lady. In October 2008, she published Girls Are Best, a history book for girls and in 2009, her collected columns for the Sunday Telegraph were published in book form as The Chain of Curiosity. In 2012, she published her latest book, Valentine Grey, a historical novel set in the Boer War.

In addition to her contributions to arts and entertainment, she is a renowned campaigner on rights related issues - particularly gay rights.

We are, as you can imagine, very excited to have our awards compered and presented by such an eloquent wit and widely respected character. As you know, The BBPA Annual Dinner & Awards event brings together the leaders of the British brewing and pub sectors along with industry suppliers and stakeholders. Following on from last year’s success, this year’s awards look set to be highly competitive and, given this year’s host, the evening promises to be particularly entertaining.
If you are interested in sponsoring this event or booking a table, please contact Sophie McIntyre on 020 7627 9155, email or have a look online

Sophie McIntyre


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Heritage ingredients and Novel Foods

On 13/06/14 by Steve Livens (Policy Manager - Product Assurance & Supply Chain)

When is an ingredient not an ingredient…when it’s a novel food, of course!

Let’s be clear, natural ingredients remain part of the long and distinguished heritage of beer. It is a heritage that reaches back to soaking discs of unleavened bread with water in clay jars to create what was likely to be the earliest form of beer. Today, brewers continue to reserve the right to be an inventive bunch, always coming up with new, wild and crazy combinations of ingredients to lay down the gauntlet of taste and aroma to the unsuspecting consumer!

However the use of ‘natural’ ingredients is becoming something of a grey area and in this way, on behalf of one BBPA member, I recently found myself immersed in the murky world of food ingredients. Principally, regarding what constitutes an ingredient. When is an ingredient no longer an ingredient or worse even a ‘non-food’ and far more terrifyingly than this, when does an ingredient becomes a Novel Food. Or as I like to think of it, the ingredient equivalent of a zombie!

As part of an ongoing, broad interest in producing ‘heritage’ beer styles, brewers have shown a keenness to experiment with the use of ‘heritage’ ingredients. These are ingredients, usually derived from natural plant sources, that have been in wide spread use in the past but are perhaps less well known or used today. A typical example being that of gruit, a mixture of herbs, spices and bittering plants such as bog myrtle (myrica gale) which was in widespread use before the introduction of hops to Britain from the Netherlands around the 14th Century.

However, it seems that what Europe gives with one hand it takes with the other and an issue with the use of heritage ingredients, such as bog myrtle, becomes clear when one considers the Novel Food and Novel Food Ingredients Regulations (EC 258/97). Specifically, the European Commission ‘considers foods and food ingredients that have not been used for human consumption to a significant degree in the EU before 15 May 1997 novel foods and novel food ingredients’.

Under this premise, any such ingredients that have not been officially ‘approved’ for use since 1997 potentially require authorisation before they can legally be used for food production! Such authorisation is required primarily to show that the ingredient in question is safe for use, but also to corroborate any claims that may be associated with its use. Approvals are made on an EU wide basis and helpfully there are no definitive, approved lists!

Thankfully there is a ‘but’, if albeit a somewhat grey one! EC 258/97 is not predominant as a Regulation and in the case of a food ingredient that is used as a flavouring, whether in significant use before 1997 or not, this then becomes subject to the EU flavouring Regulations (EC 1334/2008).

Brewers wishing to use ‘heritage’ ingredients now have two options. Firstly and more definitively, demonstrating that an ingredient has been in significant use (Commission guidance on definition of ‘significant’) prior to 1997 obviates Novel Foods Regulations. An alternative is to satisfy the definition of a flavouring in EC 1334/2008.

Thankfully, using the definitions in EC 1334/2008, most plant based ingredients that are used, like hops, for the purpose of providing either or both flavour and aroma appear likely to fall within the definition of a ‘flavouring preparation’. As such the ingredient in question is not present in the final product or is removed from the process during production and for which the physical processes of either heating or steeping are used to extract the necessary compounds for aroma or flavour. As for all food producers, there remains a requirement for brewers to be sure that any ingredient they use will not endanger public health. However, in many cases, showing use in other foods can be sufficient for this purpose.

Needless to say, as with most regulations that emanate from Brussels, there is ever a healthy mix of confusion and uncertainty. The recent Consumer Food Information Regulation being a case in point! However, in the case of Novel Foods BBPA is also now working with the FSA, who profess to also be suitably confused, to raise a point of clarification with the Commission over where ingredients may fall between Novel Foods and Flavouring Regulations. We hope that this will result in some further clarity and not least to ensure that the spirit of diversity and creativity that underlies the brewing industry is not stifled.

Steve Livens
Policy Manager - Product Assurance & Supply Chain


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'Don't score an own goal this World Cup by drink driving’ – THINK campaign launches new campaign for the World Cup

On 13/06/14 by Daisy Blench (Policy Manager - Responsibility)

With World Cup 2014 now officially underway, the pub industry will be hoping that a great many people will choose to leave the confines of their living rooms and experience the highs, lows, tears and celebration of watching football down their local.

However, the Government is this week re-launching its THINK road safety campaign to remind people that it could be more tears than celebration if people risk their own safety and others’ by drinking and driving when on the way home from watching World Cup matches.

The THINK campaign, which has been running now for 30 years, has been extremely successful in reducing the social acceptability of drink-driving. In recent years their hard hitting public awareness messages, alongside a strict police enforcement policy to those that drink and drive and tough penalties, has seen a 47% reduction in the number of drivers testing positive after a roadside breath test and a 33% reduction in drink drive convictions since 2000. There has also been a 47% reduction in drink driving casualties since 2002.

Drink Driving Schemes

However, drink driving remains an issue to be tackled by all to ensure that these positive downward trends continue. During the last World Cup in 2010 a total of 7,402 people were caught drink driving despite risking a prison sentence, driving ban and fine and the THINK campaign is keen to ensure that this number is lower in 2014.

The brewing industry has a long history of campaigning on drink-driving, illustrated by this poster I dug up from the BBPA archives. As well as supporting the THINK campaign for many years we have been involved in a range of different initiatives including the ‘I’ll Be Des’ campaign promoting having a designated driver and more recently the Coca Cola Designated Drivercampaign which works with participating venues to offer a BOGOF on soft drinks for designated drivers during the festive period.

This 2008 Budweiser advert and 2006 Heineken advert give a good idea of some of the individual initiatives that companies have pursued.

As always, if you’re going to drink then its best to leave the car at home and pubs have an important role to play in campaigns such as this.There are some simple straightforward things that licensees can do to help people:

  • Encourage customers to organise travel arrangements home from World Cup matches in advance
  • Help regulars to arrange lift sharing
  • Have taxi information available and offer to book taxis for customers for when the game has finished
  • Provide information in the pub for customers about local public transport
  • Reward those who take the job of designated driver – you could offer a free drink or provide a more interesting range of non-alcoholic options perhaps themed to the countries that are playing e.g. non-alcoholic beers or virgin cocktails

With England’s first game tomorrow against Italy let’s do our bit as a responsible industry and make sure that this World Cup is safe and fun for all.

Daisy Blench
Policy Manager - Responsibility


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Home Office guest blog - Campaign to tackle domestic violence

On 10/06/14

A new campaign to highlight the devastating consequences of domestic violence to men during this year’s football World Cup tournament was launched yesterday, on 9 June, and activity will run until 14 July 2014.

Home Office Domestic Violence Campaign Poster

Violence against women and girls is an abhorrent crime and the Government is committed to ending it. These crimes have a huge impact on our: economy, health services, and the criminal justice system. It is estimated that more than one in four women will be the victim of domestic abuse over the course of their lifetime in England and Wales.

The aim of the campaign is to make men aware of the consequences of domestic violence and abuse. It also highlights that not all abuse is physical and can also include threats and controlling behaviour.

A3 posters started to be displayed in male toilets in venues across England, including pubs and bars from 7 June and will be displayed until 13 July 2014. Washrooms are discrete spaces enabling us to raise awareness of the issue. Alongside the posters, online adverts adapted from the poster, will also run from 12 June to 14 July, across football content on the SKY Sports website and on mobile apps the day after key first round England matches and throughout the competition when men are checking the football match reports and commentary. All campaign activity signposts the Respect Phoneline (0800 802 4020) and website where men can get further help and support.

You can view the poster on the GOV.UK website and partners can request a copy of the campaign brief, which provides further background information on the campaign by emailing


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