Licensees urged to hold back PPL payments

August 12th, 2011 | Posted in: Bar News,News,Spirits

Scots licensees are being urged to hold back their PPL fees in protest against proposed licence hikes. PPL, the organisation that collects royalties on behalf of performers and record companies, is proposing to charge pubs and clubs that put on Specially Featured Entertainment (SFE) exorbitant fees and this includes DJ’s.
The proposed price rises, which would see an average pub currently paying £30 for a 4-hour SFE, now having to pay £380 for its PPL license, excluding the cost of the DJ. While club owners, with a 5-hour SFE, and a 2,500 capacity, would see their fee increase from £129 to more than £4,000.
It will affect pubs, clubs, hotels, and cafés, in fact anywhere that does more than use background music. It could spell the death knell for DJ’s, who get most of their income from the licensed trade, but it could mean a boon for live music bands. Live music doesn’t come under the PPL remit.
The PPl have said that they don’t consider the fees currently paid a “fair reflection” of the value of the licence, but industry insiders say that it is merely a way of clawing back cash following a decrease in income from traditional channels.
Although the fees are only at the consultation process, organisations such as the British Beer and Pub Association and Noctis, have already said they are “not feasible”.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said, “These proposed increases for playing music are unacceptable and off the scale. They would be a huge burden.”
The BBPA estimates that a small pub company with six venues running two to three events a week could face huge fee increases. If between 250 to 400 people attended each event, a current bill of £22,300 could become £220,000 annually.
Donald Macleod, MD of CPL, which owns The Garage and The Tunnel nightclubs in Glasgow, is incensed. He told DRAM, “We should organise a boycott of the PPL. These prices increases are insane. Do they not know what is going on in the licensed trade at the moment? This could cause bars goes out of business and jobs being lost.
He urged, “We all need to get together on this. We need to speak to our politicians and we need to respond vigorously to the consultation. A campaign to oppose these prices needs to be organised. We should all hold back our fees.” He continued, “That might seem drastic, but it would certainly make PPL sit up and take notice of our concerns. If we don’t take action we will see more bars and clubs going out of business and jobs being lost.”
Eddie Tobin agrees, “We should run a ‘Hold back the money campaign’. This is an insane increase.The price increases being suggested are a disgrace and they could sound the death knell for the pub and clubbing scene in Scotland.”
Licensing law specialist Stephen McGowan, of Lindsays, says “PPL lost a significant case last year in which they were forced to issue refunds to the licensed sector of around £20m, so they may be trying to mitigate that loss. The licensed industry has been bled dry over the last few years and established operators are going bust. This new fee increase will put people out of business. Ministers like Andrew Griffiths, who has acknowledged Government had let the industry down, need to step up”.
PPL has defended the consultation. But even it admitted in its 2010 accounts, “The economy continues to play a part in our ability to collect licensing income and 2010 proved particularly difficult in some markets; such as the retail and pub industry where business closures resulted in less venues playing music.”
page 5 story continued
The same accounts also show that PPL increased its revenue from licensing from £111.4m in 2009 to £143.5m in 2010. Says Eddie Tobin, “How can PPL justify raising licensing fees?”
PPL wants to phase in the new rates over three years from April 2012. Operators would pay 25% of the charge in year one, 50% in year two and the full amount from 2014 onwards. To see the consultation document go to

Gold Medal Student Lands job at Cali Bruich

Tue 18th December 2018

A Gold medal winning City of Glasgow College student is celebrating after landing a job as a pastry chef at the city's Cali Bruich restauran... Read more.

Raasay Distillery unveils Barrel Christmas Tree

Tue 18th December 2018

The team at the Isle of Raasay Distillery on the beautiful Inner Hebridean island are an enterprising bunch, so when the festive season appr... Read more.

The Three Chimneys’ Scott Davies returns to the MasterChef kitchen

Fri 14th December 2018

A head chef from one of Scotland’s leading restaurants is making a return to the MasterChef kitchen this festive season.... Read more.

Scottish budget: Rates increase capped at 2.1 %

Thu 13th December 2018

Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has announced in his Scottish budget that the non-domestic poundage rates paid by licensees will see... Read more.

Molson Coors & Matthew Clark distribution agreement comes to an end

Thu 13th December 2018

After five years of working together Molson Coors and Matthew Clark have “mutually agreed not to renew their free trade distribution agree... Read more.


Tue 11th December 2018

The very brightest and best of the drinks community will next September descend on Glasgow to see the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender o... Read more.


Wed 5th December 2018

Quiet Man Taverns, aka brothers Daniel and Finbarr McNally, has taken over The Dogs restaurant in Edinburgh and renamed it The Perch.... Read more.

Design Feature: Jacques

Wed 5th December 2018

Brel’s wee brother Jacques is the new kid on the block in Finnieston. Owner Oli Norman’s latest offering to the Glasgow bar world (he al... Read more.

MSP Letter

Wed 5th December 2018

Dear xxxx As my local MSP, I’m writing to make you aware of the crippling rates bills that myself and others in the hospitality indust... Read more.

It’s time to rattle your local MSP about rates

Wed 5th December 2018

Life sucks. But that doesn’t mean that you need to suck it up when you’re getting a raw deal? Like the amount licensees are payi... Read more.

Design Feature: The Bell Jar

Wed 5th December 2018

The Bell Jar is a novel by Sylvia Plath. It’s also the name of a new bar on Glasgow’s Dixon Avenue, on the city’s south side. It’s t... Read more.

Design Feature: The Old Schoolhouse

Wed 5th December 2018

Belhaven Pubs debuted the refurbished Old Schoolhouse on Glasgow’s Woodlands Road last month and in the process of researching this featur... Read more.

Key to the Loch: licensee interview with Sandy Fraser

Wed 5th December 2018

Gabriel Oak is a character in Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd. As the name suggests, he’s the sturdy, reliable character at th... Read more.


Wed 5th December 2018

Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin, wife Michaela and business partner Dominic Jack of Castle Terrace are now the proud owners of a brand new... Read more.

Greene King profits up

Mon 3rd December 2018

Belhaven owners Greene King has reported £1,051 million in revenues in the last six months, up 1.9% on the previous half, after a strong sa... Read more.


Thu 29th November 2018

Energy companies are holding more than £24 million belonging to Britain’s hospitality businesses. That’s according to an independent st... Read more.

Scottish government plans to ban alcohol advertising before 9pm

Wed 28th November 2018

The  Scottish government plans to curb alcohol abuse by banning drink adverts on TV before the 9pm watershed, while drinks manufacturers wi... Read more.


Tue 27th November 2018

One of Scotland’s leading hospitality groups, Buzzworks Holdings, welcomed school children from Glenburn Primary this week, to its Bakehou... Read more.

Restaurants could face curb on portion size and calorie count

Thu 22nd November 2018

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has launched a consultation on limiting portion sizes, maximum calorie limits and calorie labelling. They are ... Read more.

Brora Distillery set to re-open after 35 years

Wed 21st November 2018

Brora distillery, which last operated in 1983, is set to reopen and back in production by 2020.  The copper pot stills have been transport... Read more.