Fair Deal for Your Local write to government: “Accept simple, market-based solution to pubco overcharging and back New Clause 2”

The Fair Deal for Your Local campaign, leading the fight to get New Clause 2 into the Small Business Bill at next week’s report stage, have written to government calling on ministers to back New Clause 2 and enshrine in law the market rent only option.

The letter argues that the Bill as it stands is “flawed” and “will not deliver the Government’s two key commitments to fairness and to the principle that the tied licensee is no worse off than a free of tie licensee”.

 It goes on to set out the market rent only option, how it will work in practice and a list of the ten organisations backing the campaign for New Clause 2, including the Campaign for Real Ale, Federation of Small Businesses, GMB and Unite. The letter is also signed by Greg Mulholland MP, Chair of the parliamentary Save the Pub group, and Adrian Bailey, Chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee.

 The Fair Deal for Your Local campaign coalition is calling on MPs to vote for the cross-party New Clause and allow the market rent only option for tenants of the large pubcos, with this applying only to companies that own 500 or more pubs, applying to their leased, tenanted and franchised pubs only.

 48 MPs in total now back New Clause 2, including 29 coalition MPs and former business minister Jenny Willott. This number of MPs backing the clause is expected to increase further before the vote on Tuesday afternoon, and only ratchet up pressure on government to help the clause go into the Bill.

 Tom Stainer, Head of Communications, CAMRA:

 “Thousands of CAMRA members will be lobbying their MPs asking them to support pubs by voting to put a stop to the sky high rents and beer prices the big pub companies impose on their tenants. Allowing tenants tied to the big pub companies the simple choice between a tied agreement and a rental only agreement will be a big boost to the pub sector. Government must show it is on the side of Britain’s pub goers, who will be the ultimate beneficiaries of these reforms as they will keep valued pubs open, promote investment and help keep the price of a pub pint affordable.”

 John Allan, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“Pubco tenants aren’t getting a fair deal and this will continue unless they have the option to go free of tie, with an independently assessed rent.

“Our research showed that the ‘market rent only’ option would bring significant benefits in terms of investment, employment and consumer choice. This New Clause will give MPs the opportunity to ensure that the Small Business Bill provides a fair deal for tied pubs and government must back it.”

Phil Orford MBE, Chief Executive, Forum of Private Business:

“We feel that this New Clause is important in stimulating competition within the industry, allowing pubs to sell local beers alongside national brands and helping to put pubs back at the heart of their local community. Publicans, like all small business owners, want to create a business that they are proud of, without excessive bureaucracy or restrictions on their ability to trade.”

Greg Mulholland MP, Coordinator of the Fair Deal for Your Local Campaign & Chair of the Parliamentary Save the Pub Group said:

“The Government should now accept the simple, market based solution to end the scandal the large pubcos taking too much in pub profit and should accept New Clause 2 to at last introduce the much needed market rent only option for large pubco tenants. 

“There is a clear majority in the House of Commons in favour of the market rent only option, with 29 Government MPs signed up to this and the Fair Deal for Your Local campaign. We would clearly win a free vote end the Government should not seek to whip pro pub MPs to vote against it. We hope the Government will see sense and adopt the solution backed by CAMRA, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Forum of Priage Business, but if they don’t then we will be calling on all MPs to vote for pubs and a Fair Deal for Your Local on Tuesday and we will seek to win the vote”.

Adrian Bailey MP, Chair of the BIS Select Committee said:

“New Clause 2 for a market rent only option for tenants of the large pubcos is the cross party select committee solution. It is the solution that the committee, first chaired by a Conservative MP then a Labour one, came to after our four reports and was backed by all members. The Government were wrong to ignore it in 2011 and they should have the sense to accept it now, to finally deal with the ongoing imbalance of the large pubcos taking too much from pubs’ profits.”

Brian Binley, President of the Save the Pub Group and a member of the BIS Select Committee said:

“There is strong support for the market rent only option and the Fair Deal for Your Local campaign on all sides of the House of Commons. The Government have run out of excuses as to why not do the obvious and sensible thing and back the cross party BIS Select Committee market rent only option. I urge Ministers to now do this and to introduce this gradual, sensible, market based solution which will simply stop the exploitation of licensees through excessive beer prices and rents, but will allow brewers and all sustainable companies to work in partnership with their tenants.”

Notes for editors:

1.     The letter to government is as attached.

2.     For more information, contact Mo Saqib (Parliamentary Researcher to Greg Mulholland MP) on saqibm@parliament.uk or 0207 219 3833

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