A Scottish Government report into the tenanted pub market is too limited, failed to collect data from a representative sample and made conclusions of “an extremely limited value” according to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA), which are calling for additional measures to protect Scottish pubs.
The comments from CAMRA and the SLTA, which represent pub users and the Scottish licensed trade respectively, followed the publication of the Scottish Government’s Research on the Pub Sector in Scotland – Phase 1 Scoping Study.
Colin Valentine, chairman of CAMRA, said: “We are disappointed that the research study has been limited to the examination of just 25 pub case studies when the original objective was to complete a much more detailed and widespread analysis. Of the 25 detailed pub case studies conducted only 10 were in a fully tied situation and not a single free of tie tenanted pub was included. The failure to collect data from a representative sample of tied publicans across Scotland means that the conclusions of the research are of extremely limited value.
“A CAMRA commissioned survey of tenants in 2014 saw 200 tied publicans interviewed with 74 per cent stating that they were worse off as a result of being unable to buy beer on the open market from a supplier of their choice. This Scottish Government’s overrunning research project, has had the effect of delaying action to protect the future of Scotland’s pubs. Now that the research is finally concluded we urge the Scottish Government to consult on introducing measures to ensure that Scottish publicans are treated fairly so that they in turn can continue to run welcoming pubs enjoyed by customers.”
Paul Waterson, chief executive of the SLTA commented: “For us this is an issue of common sense. 25 case studies are surely unrepresentative of our businesses. In order to protect our tenanted pubs and bars we need a statutory Scottish Pub Code and arbitration system. This will give us the same rights and protections as our colleagues in England and Wales. Scottish tied tenants should not be treated any differently to those in other parts of the UK.”