You are currently viewing the International Edition. You can also switch to the Hong Kong Edition.
Sunday 5 July 2015

UK plans pubco crackdown

9th January, 2013 by Gabriel Stone

UK business secretary Vince Cable has received a mixed response to new proposals designed to protect landlords from “unfair practices” by pub companies.

UK business secretary Vince Cable

UK business secretary Vince Cable

Announcing plans to establish an independent adjudicator, Cable also outlined his intention to draw up a statutory code, saying that attempts last year to encourage self-regulation had fallen short of the necessary measures.

The new code will cover issues including rent and the price publicans pay for beer, as well as having the authority to deal with disputes between pubcos and their landlords and impose fines. It is expected to apply only to pubcos which own more than 500 tied leases.

In particular, the code aims to prevent abuses of the beer tie, which forces landlords to stock certain brands. The move is designed to support the principle that there should be a level playing field across the UK’s tied and free pubs.

Stressing the “real hardship” facing many UK pubs, Cable remarked: “Some of this is due to pubcos exploiting and squeezing their publicans by unfair practices and a focus on short-term profits. Four Select Committee reviews since 2004 have highlighted these problems.

Announcing the plan ahead of a debate taking place in Parliament today on the issue, Cable argued: “It is clear that the self-regulatory approach was not enough.”

Instead, he insisted: “A change in the law is now needed to shift behaviour,” adding: “I hope these measures mean publicans are given a fairer chance at running their pub, which in turn will help them grow their businesses instead of losing them.”

There was a mixed response to this announcement from the pub sector, with the British Beer and Pub Association describing itself as “disappointed” by the decision to abandon self-regulation.

Jonathan Neame, chairman of the BBPA, commented: “It is disappointing that self-regulation has not been given a proper chance to work, after all the hard work from the BBPA, ALMR, FLVA, BII, and other industry colleagues on Version Six of the Code of Practice.

“However, today’s announcement does at least provide some clarity and certainty over the direction of policy. In the consultation, we will be urging the Government to ensure that any statutory process is light-touch and cost-effective, to protect consumers from bearing the brunt of unreasonable additional costs.

Meanwhile, the news was welcomed by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) whose chief executive, Mike Benner responded: “Over 3,500 tied public houses have been lost since the start of 2009. Many of these will have been lost as a result of excessive rents and by being forced to buy beer at up to 50% above market rates.”

As a result, Benner continued, “CAMRA fully endorses the Government’s wish to ensure that tied publicans are no worse off than free of tie publicans.” He also cited a 2011 report by the Institute for Public Policy Research which suggested that 46% of tied publicans earn less than £15,000 per year in contrast to 22% of free of tie publicans.

A formal consultation on these proposed measures is due to launch this Spring.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

If that's interesting, how about these?

Oregon producer takes international view

One of Oregon’s youngest wine estates has partnered with Jackson Family Wines more...

English fizz attracts new deal

English sparkling wine producer Jenkyn Place has stepped up its ambitions by more...

Asda warns suppliers of Champagne scam

Asda is warning suppliers to be on guard after several companies received more...

Wine Buyer

London, United Kingdom

Based on experience

Lidl hints at plans for online wine shop

UK supermarket Lidl has not ruled out launching an online wine shop, reporting more...

UK reviewing alcohol intake guidelines

Health officials are to review the government's drinking guidelines, as more...

Louis Latour Agencies signs Gosset

Louis Latour Agencies marked its 25th anniversary last night with the more...

E-commerce, Sales & Marketing Executive

London, United Kingdom

Competitive salary and bonus package based on experience and qualification.

Oddbins woos Naked staff with love letters

Oddbins has allegedly been sending love letters and bottles of wine to key more...

Wimbledon serves up English wine

Organisers of this year’s Wimbledon have decided to offer tennis fans English more...

Pimm's and English wine sales leap

UK supermarket Waitrose has noted a surge in sales for Pimm's, strawberries and more...

Business Development Executive

London, United Kingdom

£25-£30K + benefits, depending on experience

Tesco sales take a tumble despite price cuts

Tesco's like-for-like sales fell by 1.3% in the three months to 30 May, an more...

Bar launches festival-themed cocktail list

Matt Whiley, the liquid alchemist in charge of Peg + Patriot, the bar at the more...

SWA creates heavyweight London team

The Scotch Whisky Association has appointed a number of senior high-fliers from more...

UK customs seize 550,000 litres of alcohol

More than 550,000 litres of illegal beer, wine and spirits have been seized by more...

US wine brand hopes to ape craft beer success

A wine brand from California is hoping to ape craft beer’s success in the UK more...

UK vineyards included in tax relief scheme

Winemakers in the UK will be able to benefit from income tax changes for the more...

Global Wine Buyer

London, United Kingdom

Competitive

WOSA woos UK indies and on-trade

Wines of South Africa has announced plans for a new UK trade tasting later this more...

Final call for Liberty apprentice scheme

Liberty Wines is inviting final applications for its apprentice programme, more...

Pub landlord kills customer with ironing board

A pub landlord has been found guilty of killing a wealthy American customer by more...

London Sales Manager / Key Account Manager

London, United Kingdom

Competitive - depending on skills and experience

Diageo closes in on £200m Gleneagles deal

Drinks giant Diageo is reportedly “close” to agreeing a sale of its luxury more...

Top 10 wines in the UK press

An English fizz fit for Wimbledon, a "chunky, berry-stuffed" Negroamaro and a more...