Push for New Code on Pubs
Fair Deal for Your Local campaign launches to promote a better deal for publicans.
A new campaign has been launched to gather information ahead of a consultation on "tied" pubs.
The "beer tie" is where pub companies lease public houses to tenants on the condition that they only serve beer from particular breweries.
Some of the big "PubCos" have been accused of forcing their tenanted landlords to buy their beer at inflated prices.
Earlier this year the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, accused the PubCos of unfair practices and promised to look at a statutory code of conduct.
The latest initiative, Fair Deal for Your Local, is part of that consultation process and is urging landlords, pub companies, breweries and customers to make their voices heard.
One argument is that publicans in tied pubs can pay over £110 for a barrel of beer whereas those who are "free of tie" can purchase a barrel for less than £70.
This example of "unfair untreatement" is being stated as one of the potential reasons why the British pub has declined in recent years as publicans struggle to make a profit themselves.
The campaign and consultation process is being backed by a number of high profile groups including the All Parliamentary Save the Pub group, the CAMpaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the Forum of Private Business (FPB) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
As well as publicans and brewers, the campaign is keen for members of the general public to have their say on what happens with their local pubs.
The consultation will also look at the need for an adjudicator or "pub watchdog" to arbitrate in matters such as disputes between the PubCos and the licensees and one of the key tenets is that tied pub licencees should be no wrose off than those in free-of-tie pubs.
Phil Orford, the CEO of the Forum of Private Business said:
The future of the pub industry as we know it today rests on the outcome of the consultation, so frankly the more people who take part the better. It really could help stem the tide of pub closures we’ve seen right across the country, and ultimately even mean cheaper prices for many. It’s high time for drinkers to mobilise and get behind their local pub.
He even went into details by saying that he believed the average tied pub would be £4,000 better off every year.
“Many are trying to run businesses with both hands tied behind their backs due to the models they are forced to follow, so it’s really pleasing to see at the heart of the consultation a tied licensee will not be worse off than a free-of-tie licensee.”
“This is key to ensuring publicans have more autonomy to make their businesses a success and it can’t happen soon enough.”
Fair Deal for Your Local has a website where businesses and customers can sign up and support the campaign, complete a Government survey for PubCo reform or even send in a personal letter calling for change.