Whole chain of pubs in Milton Keynes is at risk of closure, claims GMB Union

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
But the company denies it and is still ‘confident’ it can refinance its £2 billion worth of debts

A string of Stonegate pubs and venues in Milton Keynes could be at risk of closure, GMB Union has warned.

They say more than 750 much loved pubs across the South East are “in serious danger of pulling their last pint”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Among them are Popworld in Central Milton Keynes, Slug and Lettuce in The Hub at CMK, Be At One, also in The Hub, and Midsummer Tap in the Theatre District.

Stonegate pub company has issued a profit warning amid union fears of closureStonegate pub company has issued a profit warning amid union fears of closure
Stonegate pub company has issued a profit warning amid union fears of closure

But Stonegate Pub Company had denied the union’s claims and say they are making a profit and there is no risk.

The company has a network of more than 4,400 pubs and bars across the UK. But it is struggling with a debt mountain of more than £2 billion.

Stonegate bosses have reassured people that the venues are not at risk, saying that the firm had made a “significant increase in profitability”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Earlier this year, Gary Lindsay, the boss of TDR Capital, which also runs Asda, told the Business and Trade Select Committee he was ‘confident’ in the Stonegate debt could be refinanced this year.

But this month the company admitted it had not yet agreed new loans to replace debt due for repayment in June next year. And now it has issued an official alert about its financial position.

Talks with potential lenders are said to be underway but nothing has been agreed.

A spokesperson for GMB Union said today: “As GMB predicted earlier this year – and despite private equity owner TDR’s assurances to a parliamentary select committee in January - Stonegate says there is no guarantee it can continue as a going concern, as it struggles to refinance a £2.2bn debt mountain.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

GMB has written to Lian Myrne MP, chair of the Business and Trade Select Committe, asking him to recall TDR bosses in light of the profit warning [4]

Nadine Houghton, GMB National Officer, said: "TDR bosses are private equity gamblers - playing fast and loose with people’s jobs and lives. When their risky ventures go wrong, they swan off to their next project, leaving workers and communities to pick up the pieces.

“Now, hundreds of much loved pubs across the South East are now in serious danger of pulling their last pint. It’s a disgrace.”

A spokesperson for Stonegate, said: “We are really pleased with the performance of the business in 2023, which included a sector-leading Christmas trading period. We have delivered a rise in revenue and a significant increase in profitability. We have been very clear that we continue to work towards achieving our long-term balance sheet goals, with the successful refinancing of a portion of our estate in December marking a significant strategic step towards this. We would also like to assure our employees and partners that no venues are at risk as a result of this process.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“TDR Capital has been and continues to be a supportive investor in Stonegate - developing the business over the last fourteen years into the UK’s largest pub company with 4,500 great venues across the country.”