2nd June 2009
The Fair Pint Campaign and the Federation of Small Business (FSB) have today launched a national campaign to push for government action to refer the unfair tie between the country’s pubs and the Pub Companies that own them to the Competition Commission.
The tie means that as well as paying rent, tenants are forced to buy beer and often other products from the company that owns their pubs, at prices which are much higher than the same products on the open market.
The Business and Enterprise Select Committee report on Pub Companies, published in mid May, was highly critical of the way in which pub companies run their business, questioning the fairness of the relationship between pub companies and their tenants.
The report concluded that the tie was making it difficult for landlords to make a living, with 67% earning less than £15,000 from their pubs despite in many cases having a turnover in excess of £500,000. The report also showed that the tie raised the cost of beer for consumers and reduced choice. It recommended that the Government refer the tie to the Competition Commission and that it takes action to increase the fairness of the relationship between publicans and their landlords.
The Fair Pint Campaign and the FSB’s national campaign will call on their members to take action and send letters to their MPs expressing their concern about the Pub Company tie and demand that it be lifted.
The campaign specifically asks the Government to:
- Refer the Pub Company tie to the Competition Commission
- Ensure that rents for the pub sector are set in a transparent and fair way
- Introduce a statutory code of practice to improve fairness in the relationship between the companies that own pubs and the tenants who run them
Steve Corbett, a tied tenant and founder member of Fair Pint said:
"The Business and Enterprise Select Committee has exposed the unfairness of the tie. Their report made it clear that tied arrangements are not fair and the high cost of beer combined with high rents means that publicans are struggling to earn even the equivalent of the national minimum wage from their pubs.
"If we are going to secure the future of pubs in the UK it is important that the Government takes action to respond to the recommendations of the Select Committee by referring the tie to the Competition Commission and by introducing a statutory code of practice to improve the fairness of the relationship between lessees and the pub owners.
"We are delighted to be working with the FSB on this national campaign to persuade publicans and all those who care about the future of the British pub to write to their MP asking them to put pressure on Lord Mandelson to adopt the recommendations of the Select Committee report."
Clive Davenport, Federation of Small Businesses Trade and Industry Chairman, said:
"With thousands of pub businesses failing every year, it’s time the Government took urgent action to stop the trend. The Government must listen to the concerns the Select Committee report raised about Pub Companies, and listen to the voices of the country’s publicans, who are telling them the tie is unfair.
"The single biggest reason for this horrendous rate of pub closures is the tie; there is enough evidence available to prove this. Britain is on the brink of losing its traditional community hub – the British pub – and it is time for action.
"The FSB has been campaigning on this issue on behalf of its publican members since 2004, and it’s time we saw a change."
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Fair Pint is an independent campaign group which is calling for an end to tied relationships between publicans and the companies who own their pubs. More information can be found on the Fair Pint website www.fairpint.org.uk
The FSB is the UK's leading business organisation with over 215,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the self-employed, and all those who run their own business. More information is available at http://www.fsb.org.uk.
The Business and Enterprise Select Committee’s report Pub Companies was published on the 13th of May. The Committee’s press release on their report can be read here, and the report can be downloaded from here