A major milestone has been reached in the campaign to reform Scotland’s tied pub sector as Neil Bibby’s proposal for a Tied Pubs Bill secures cross-party support.The Bill would create a statutory Pubs Code to regulate the relationship between tied pub tenants and their pub-owning landlords and an independent Adjudicator to enforce the code.
Tied pub tenants in Scotland would gain statutory protection, with restrictions eased on the range of drinks they can stock.
The Bill is backed by a broad coalition including the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, the Campaign for Real Ale, GMB Scotland, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Pubs Advisory Service and many small brewers. Over 90 per cent of responses to a consultation on the Bill published last month supported legislation.
Labour MSP Neil Bibby said: “This proposal is about fairness, choice and jobs. Fairness for tied pub tenants, choice for Scotland’s pub goers and jobs in the pub and brewing industries. The status quo is not an option and I am delighted that I can now introduce a Tied Pubs Bill. Getting to this stage is a real step forward towards getting a fairer deal for consumers and tied licensees in Scotland.
“My Bill would reset the relationship between tied licensees and their landlords, giving tied tenants in Scotland statutory protection, and it would make it easier to bring locally-brewed products into the tied pub sector.
“MSPs from across the Scottish Parliament have signed my proposal and I am now asking the Scottish Government to work with me to deliver a much-needed change in the law and a fairer deal for Scotland’s tied pubs and the brewing industry.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish Licensed Trade Association said:
“The SLTA is delighted that Neil Bibby’s proposal for a Tied Pubs Bill has received cross party support and will now progress to the next stage in the Parliamentary process.
“Pubs and Bars in Scotland are currently facing unprecedented difficulties in the current economic climate and tenant licensees have the additional challenge of operating in this environment with, in the majority of cases, their Pubco landlords creating an unfair, uncompetitive marketplace for this sector which leads to a serious effect on the economy and the fragile health of the licensed trade industry.
“Tenant licensees are in a very vulnerable position and the sector needs legislation in Scotland to ensure that pub tenants get a fair deal and that they are no worse off than a free-of-tie licensee.”
Main photo: Left to right : Paul Waterson (Chief Executive SLTA), Neil Bibby MSP, Ray Turpie (Campaign For Real Ale). Photo Credit: Andy Buchanan