Tied pub tenants and trade groups are looking forward to the final vote tomorrow of the Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill, brought forward by Labour MSP Neil Bibby, which would introduce a Pubs Code to govern the relationship between tied pub tenants and pub-owning businesses, with an adjudicator to enforce the rules.
It is designed to prevent pub-owning big businesses from taking more profit than is fair or sustainable from the tied tenants who lease pubs from them.
A recent survey of tied pub tenants found the average tied pub was paying a shocking 61% more for their beer than open market prices, with some paying more than 100% above open market pricing for their beer. Tenants also pay high rents and other fees, making profitability hard to achieve, and many struggle to earn a decent living.
The bill is supported by a wide coalition of trade groups, including the SLTA (Scottish Licensed Trade Association), the consumer group CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale), the British Pub Confederation and more along with the majority of Scottish pub tenants. Bill supporters are urging MSPs to pass the legislation without delay to help protect and improve community pubs by allowing tied licensees to earn a decent living and increasing choice of local, independent beers on offer at the bar.
SLTA spokesman Paul Waterson said: “It’s simply not fair that large pub-owning businesses can restrict pub tenants to buying beer at vastly inflated prices and force so many to live in virtual poverty.
“As the bill progresses into law we look forward to engaging constructively and positively with the Scottish Government and all other stakeholders while the code is developed.
“We are urging MSPs to protect the interests of consumers, community pubs and hard-working tied pub tenants over the large pub-owning businesses by voting in favour of the Tied Pubs Bill this week.”