The government’s new proposals for pub tenants and small brewers

A number of constituents wrote to me seeking  changes to the law to make life easier for pub tenants.  The government Bill this week did take some steps to help, and I supported the government.  The Commons decided it did not go far enough and put through a further amendment based on some of the points many of us  had put to the government on behalf of constituents. Following that the government has sent me the following changes it now intends to put through to reflect the views expressed  inside and out side Parliament:


“Colleagues with an interest in pubs may be interested to know that, following discussions, the Government will be amending its approach to Part 4 of the Small Business Bill on the Pubs Code.


Concerns had been raised that the measures in the Bill inadvertently bring small family brewers into statutory regulation, when they are not the cause of difficulties tenants face. Other concerns had also been raised that we were not giving tenants of large pub companies the ability to get a fair deal by running their pub without the tie.


We are therefore proposing the following.


First, all pub companies with fewer than 350 tied pubs will now be excluded from the Statutory Code altogether. This means almost all the family Brewers, except for the biggest, will not be subject to the Statutory Code and only three further Brewers would be brought in.


Secondly, for the eight large pub companies with over 350 tied pubs, we will take a power to introduce a Market Rent only option. A Market Rent only option would allow tenants to choose to go free of tie. This power would only be permitted after 2 years if, after a review, the measures already in the Bill are found to be ineffective. Any exercise of this power would be by affirmative resolution of the House.


The result of the second change is that large pub companies would need to act on all the other measures in the Bill. If they don’t act to tackle the widely reported problems in two years, then the Government can bring in a full Market Rent only option.









    November 20, 2014

    Curious but it is noticeable that tenants and franchise holders of pubs have proportionately high membership of political parties and influence in their respective communities far beyond the definitions of their trade.

    UKIP when it had a higher membership than the SNP and weekly quoted expanding figures of its growing membership ( many months ago ) strangely for a political party actually sported a policy on publicans reflecting their high input.

    Some out of town victualers concluded their drop in trade was due to the concentration of town and city centre pubs. “Taking food out of our childrens’ mouths” . This in part led to UKIP and others “calling for ” an end to “happy hours” in town centre establishments and a whole host of other measures seemingly directed against youth alcoholism but merely a ploy to hopefully redirect their consumption to local pubs.
    Government and local authorities unfortunately legislate based on flawed information and particular lobbying, not to say vested interests.
    Large breweries and pub chain owners shoulder the long-term commitments to the very buildings and continuity of pubs. If they do not have guarantees of their own brands being sold then there is little reason to maintain the relationships with tenants in other areas. I believe government intervention though pleasing certain tenants will wrong-foot them and lead to even further pub closures and bankruptcies of small and genuinely very hard working small business people.
    It should be noted former Eastern Bloc countries who had extremely low numbers of pubs and the like had horrendous alcoholic problems. Pubs are not the problem any more than restaurants are the cause of obesity.

  2. Peter Richards
    November 20, 2014

    This is I’ll thought out. This would give smaller brewer.
    Tied tenants a disadvantage against the new free tie tenants
    As the free tenants can use the extra profits
    To undercut tied tennants.

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