Hundreds of Scottish publicans are set to gain new statutory protection after the passing of the Tied Pubs Bill in the last week of the Parliamentary session.

Tied pubs are owned by pub-owning companies and large breweries with tenants required to buy beer from the brewer at big mark-ups.

The Bill, put forward by Labour West of Scotland MSP Neil Bibby, creates a statutory code and independent adjudicator to regulate those companies and stop publicans from being exploited.

The new legislation has been supported by the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, the Campaign for Real Ale, FSB Scotland, GMB Scotland, the STUC, the Campaign for Pubs, the British Pub Confederation and the Pubs Advisory Service.

The Bill was backed by all parties in the Scottish Parliament and was passed unanimously 111-0.

Neil Bibby said: “For too long global brewing giants and big pub-owning businesses have been unregulated in Scotland and their tenants have gone without the protection of a statutory Pubs Code. Now that’s set to change.

“Progressive new pub laws will protect tied pub tenants with a statutory Code to regulate pub-owning companies and new rights for publicans working hard to do what’s best for their business.

“Keeping more of the profit pubs make in the Scottish economy supports jobs in our pub and brewing industries and helps tied tenants make a decent living. That’s what this Bill is all about. With a statutory Code we can act to curb unfair business practices by pub-owning landlords and deliver a better deal for publicans, consumers and Scotland’s brewers.

“The past year has been an enormously difficult time for the pub and hospitality trades and I believe this Bill can help the sector build back after the Covid crisis.”

SLTA spokesperson Paul Waterson said: “It’s simply not fair that large pub-owning businesses can restrict pub tenants to buying beer at vastly inflated prices and force so many to live in virtual poverty.”

“As the bill progresses into law we look forward to engaging constructively and positively with Scottish Government and all other stakeholders while the code is developed.

CAMRA Scotland’s Director, Joe Crawford said: “This represents a landmark moment for tied tenants across Scotland, and our members have lobbied hard to ensure their MSPs understood just how important this Bill is to consumers.

“The Bill will help ensure that those running tied pubs are treated fairly, can earn a decent living and can build back better after the crisis.

“We welcome this turning point for the rights of tied tenants across Scotland and look forward to working with the Adjudicator in future.”

Main Photo: (Left to right : Paul Waterson (Chief Executive SLTA), Neil Bibby MSP, and Ray Turpie (Campaign For Real Ale) photographed at the launch of the bill in February 2017 (Picture Credit: Andy Buchanan)