North MSP Announces Support for Bill to Protect Pubs Constituents Urged to Respond

27 June 2017

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP(including Moray) has urged constituents to respond to a consultation on changing the law governing Tied Pub Reform in Scotland, and help stop great Scottish pubs from closing down.

 Rhoda Grant’s MSP’s colleague in the Scottish Parliament, Neil Bibby MSP, has proposed a Member’s Bill which would benefit tenants of pubs who have a ‘tied’ arrangement with large owning companies – often known as ‘pubcos’.

 Under the current arrangements, these tenants often have a contractual obligation to buy some or all products from the pubco, which can greatly restrict the choice of beer, cider, wine and spirits available - as well as forcing tenants to sell more expensive drinks due to unreasonable pricing structures they must adhere to.

 Simply put, tied arrangements can negatively impact consumer choice, access to market for Scottish breweries, the price of a pint to consumers and can lead to pubs closing down.

 A Pubs Code came into force in England and Wales in May 2016 that offers a way out for tied tenants who are trapped in unworkable arrangements with big brewers. A new voluntary code was recently introduced in Scotland, but is not adhered to by all pub companies and does not go as far as the statutory code in England and Wales.

 The proposal recently launched by Neil Bibby MSP would provide Scottish licensees the same opportunities afforded to their counterparts in England and Wales.

 It is estimated there are nearly 1,000 tenanted pubs in Scotland. The proposal has been welcomed by the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, the Campaign for Real Ale and GMB Scotland.

 Speaking today Rhoda Grant said:

“I fully support this proposed Bill for Tied Pub Reform in Scotland and urge local people in the Highlands & Islands (including Moray)  to respond to the consultation. Times are tough for the Scottish Pub Industry at the moment with many local community pubs under threat of closure.

 This proposal to allow Scottish pub tenants to opt out of their tied arrangements if they wish, could help give the industry a real boost. It would give publicans the flexibility they need to react to changes affecting their business in a crowded and competitive market place.”

Labour MSP Neil Bibby said: 

"This proposal is about fairness, choice and jobs. Fairness for Scotland's publicans, greater choice for pub customers, and an opportunity to protect and create jobs in Scotland's pub and brewing industry.

 Access to a fair and reasonable market rent for premises, without strings attached, should be a right for Scottish publicans. They will then be free to source and purchase products as they see fit, on the same basis as other pubs in Scotland, and pubs in England and Wales.”

 For more information on the Bill and to respond to the consultation visit www.protectourpubs.scot