The consultation, which has been brought forward by Neil Bibby MSP, will investigate whether a Pubs Code and Adjudicator is needed in Scotland to govern the relationship between tied pub tenants and the large pub companies (pubcos).
It will also consider whether a Market Rent Only (MRO) option should be introduced, which would allow licensees to buy their beer on the open market rather than having to buy directly from the pubco and the prices they set.
The consultation follows sweeping reforms across England and Wales last year which saw the introduction of a Pubs Code, Adjudicator and a Market Rent Only option after 10 years of campaigning by CAMRA and other industry bodies.
Sarah Bellis, CAMRA Director for Scotland and NI says: “We would like to encourage anyone who values their local pub to take part in this consultation, which could have a huge impact on the future of the industry.
“For far too long, large pub companies have been 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. Furthermore, there is not set code of practice in place or independent arbitrator available if a licensee has an issue with that pub company.
“We think this is not only unfair, but also has a damaging impact on consumers who are then faced with a higher bill at the bar and less choice at the handpump. We’re hoping that all beer-lovers will use this opportunity to show the Government that licensees in Scotland should not be left behind – that they deserve the same level of support as those in England and Wales.”
Scottish Labour MSP Neil Bibby said: “This bill is about protecting both business and consumer interests across Scotland. It is about fairness for Scotland’s publicans, greater choice for pub goers, and is an opportunity to safeguard and create jobs in Scotland’s valuable pub and brewing industry. Tied arrangements pose a real threat to our pubs and bars, so it’s important that we take this opportunity to protect them.
“Scottish pubs should have the ability to secure a fair deal for their businesses and customers. I am greatly encouraged by the responses we have received so far, and would urge anyone who has an interest in this wonderful element of Scottish culture to have their say. For more information, and to respond to the consultation, visit www.protectourpubs.scot.”
The Consultation, Proposed Tied Pubs (Code and Adjudicator) (Scotland) Bill closes on 31 July 2017. The Bills committee then has 12 weeks to determine whether or not the Bill should progress any further. To get involved, please visit: http://www.parliament.scot/gettinginvolved/102454.aspx