A new independent ‘pubs adjudicator’ will be set up by the Coalition Government to help struggling landlords suffering from unfair practices in the industry, Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, Vince Cable has announced.
The adjudicator will enforce a new statutory code, which will oversee the relationship between publicans and large pub companies (pubcos.) It will ensure publicans get a fair deal on rent and the prices they pay for beer.
Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, commented:
“My constituency office is based above a great pub. Well run community pubs can be cornerstones of communities – yet many have been struggling in recent years.
“For too long, large pubcos have been taking more than their fair share of the profits of their publicans and made life harder still for our locals. The Labour Government never addressed this issue – and as a result dozens of pubs in the UK closed every week.
“With the Liberal Democrats committed to building a stronger economy in a fairer society, it’s great credit to Vince Cable that he has taken action where the Labour Government had so abysmally failed.
“I’d also like to thank the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) for all their hard work towards this. I’ll be raising my glass to the new Adjudicator in my local very soon.”
CAMRA Chief Executive, Mike Benner said:
“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. The proposal for a “fair dealing” provision will allow publicans tied to large pub companies to challenge these high prices which means fewer valued pubs will be forced to close their doors.
“CAMRA fully endorses the Government’s wish to ensure that tied publicans are no worse off than free of tie publicans. Research shows that 46% of tied publicans earn less than £15,000 per year in contrast to 22% of free of tie publicans. Guest beer and free of tie options offered by pub companies with more than 500 pubs, long advocated by CAMRA, would be a straightforward means of levelling up the playing field.”