With pubs closing in unprecedented numbers the industry is at a cross roads and only we (tied tenants and customers) can change it. Help us force change by writing to your MP urging them to sign Greg Mulholland’s EDM 1299 – Consultation on Statutory Code of Practice for Pub Companies.
With your help we can make a difference.
To find your MP and contact details use this link – http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/
We’ve created an editable template letter for you, which you can download by clicking on this link: MP template letter
(Please note, this template is in Microsoft Word format. If you don’t have software that will open it, we recommend Apache’s OpenOffice which is available for free download at: http://www.openoffice.org/)
Here is the text of the letter (note, there are formatting errors below which do not appear in the Word template):
[Dear MP’s Name]
I am the tenant of [Name of your pub] in your constituency. The pub is tied in a lease agreement with the [Name of pubco] ‘PubCo’. My situation is common to many pub tenants in the UK: approximately, 22,000 British pubs (40%) are owned by PubCos.
“Tied” landlords have no choice but to buy their beer (and other products) from their PubCo at extortionate prices even though the same products can be purchased on the open market as much as 50% cheaper elsewhere. These vastly inflated margins are culminating into many PubCo tenants trading as insolvent and subsequently closing down; losing their homes, savings and livelihoods in the process. Tied pub landlords also have to rent their pub and home from their PubCo with rents which are supposed to be profit related. Unfortunately, upward only rent reviews and beer that has to be bought at inflated prices from the PubCo places enormous pressure on many tied landlords who struggle to make a living and the resultant tied rents no longer balance against the tied product prices. Huge numbers of landlords are simply being forced out of the market and few consumers understand why they are paying more for their pint.
The dominance of the large PubCos over the pub market has resulted in an unfair and uncompetitive arrangement for tied pub landlords and consumers alike. Pubs are currently closing at a rate of 18 pubs per week, with business failures and bankruptcies amongst pub landlords at a much higher rate. This simply has to stop.
The campaign has been very successful in bringing the structure of the industry and the business practices of the major pub companies to the forefront of the debate on the future of the industry. After four Select Committee Inquiries and two back bench debates The Secretary of State for Business; Vince Cable, has decided to act and consult on a statutory code of practice that will enshrine in law the long ignored principle that the tied tenant should be no worse (or better) off than the free of tie publicans.
You can find the consultation document here:
There is a broad consensus within the sector about the need for urgent reform with a unanimous opinion on how this is best achieved. The All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group (STPG), backed by other industry organisations which includes the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), The Federation of Small Businesses, The Guild of Master Victuallers, The Forum of Private Business, Fair Pint, Justice for Licensees, Licensees Supporting Licensees and others, as well as thousands of tied tenants across the country, agree that the simplest and obvious way to achieve fairness is to include in the statutory code an option for tied publicans to independently assessed market rent only (MRO), where a tenant may choose to pay an open market rent and acquire their products from any source in an open and competitive market place. This recommendation is one that was originally put forward by the Business Select committee, chaired at the time by Peter Luff and now by Adrian Bailey MP and remains the only tabled mechanism to both rebalance rents and product pricers and kerb the abusive behaviour of some pubco’s that the tied agreements currently permits.
Whilst the MRO option allows tenants to choose between remaining tied or trading free of tie, this is absolutely not abolition of the tie, indeed it would actually make the tie work properly and in a manner that benefits pubs and consumers. The proposal excludes any companies that own more than 500 pubs so does not affect the Family Brewers.
As a publican and tenant affected by the tied lease agreement, I urge you to help bring an end to this unfair situation. We hope that you will want to support this campaign, and ensure the survival of Britain’s pubs.
You can view the STPG press release here:
I would be grateful if you would take the time to complete and send the online survey. As the public often are unaware of the process and not sure how to take part the Government is keen to make the consultation s open as possible for public participation. As the survival of the British Pub is apublic interest issue it would be of great assistance if you could make te consultation available to your constituents, perhaps with a link on your website.