Following a consultation into the tied pub sector, over 90% of respondents called for Scottish licensees to have the same level of protection as their counterparts in England and Wales.
Licensees in Scotland are currently exempt from regulations that are in place across the rest of the UK which stop large pub companies from taking more than is fair or sustainable from pub profits by forcing licensees to buy their beer from them rather than on the open market.
Scotland’s licensees are overwhelmingly calling for a series of reforms which would enable them to stock a wider range of beers and ensure that they have a stronger governance in place to manage their relationship with these large pub companies.
In response, Labour MSP Neil Bibby has introduced a Bill to the Scottish Parliament today which would create a Statutory Pubs Code and introduce a Guest Beer Option, which would allow licensees to stock a wider range of beers.
Sarah Bellis, CAMRA Director for Scotland said, “CAMRA welcomes the consultation results which show that an overwhelming 93% of respondents agree with CAMRA that change is needed to protect Scottish licensees tied to the large pub companies.
“Many pubs in Scotland are struggling because pub companies take more than is fair or sustainable from tied licensees’ profits. Licensees are further hit by paying above market value for rents and consequently struggling to make a living, contributing to pub closures across Scotland.
“We therefore fully support Neil Bibby’s Pubs Code Bill, which calls for a powerful pubs code to govern the relationship between pub companies and their tenants to ensure licensees are treated fairly.”
Neil Bibby MSP said, “This proposal is about fairness, choice and jobs. Fairness for tied pub tenants, choice for Scotland’s pub goers and jobs in the pub and brewing industries. My Bill would reset the relationship between tied licensees and their landlords, giving tied tenants in Scotland similar rights to those in England and Wales, and it would make it easier to bring locally-brewed products into the tied pub sector.
“Too often tied deals are one-sided and uncompetitive. With a broad coalition behind the Bill and backing from an overwhelming 93 percent who responded, this consultation has demonstrated very clearly that the sector has to change.
“I have now formally lodged my proposal and I am asking MSPs of all parties to work with me to deliver a much-needed change in the law and a fairer deal for Scotland’s tied pubs and the brewing industry.”
CAMRA is urging pub-goers across Scotland to contact their local MSP today to ask them to throw their support behind the Bill.