According to the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), 60 per cent of licensees tied to the big pub companies earn less than £10k a year compared to just 25 per cent of free of tie lessees.
The figures, which have come from a survey of a representative sample of over 600 licensees interviewed by CGA Strategy, are to be presented to MPs today.
Camra commissioned the survey as part of its response to the Government consultation on plans to introduce a code regulating the relationship between large pubcos and their licensees.
Mike Benner, Camra's chief executive, said the figures proved the need for a 'clamp down' on large pubcos and 'above market rents and inflated beer prices'.
“These new figures reveal the shocking truth that many licensees tied to the big pub companies are struggling to survive due to unfair business deals verging on outright exploitation," he claimed.
"Pubs that are invaluable community assets are being put at risk by pub companies forcing the majority of their licensees to survive on less than the minimum wage. The inability of licensees to earn sufficient income means money cannot be invested back into pubs enabling them to grow as businesses.
"The Government should be congratulated for recognising the need to call time on the abuses of the big pub companies," Benner said. "Our message today is that they must push forward plans for an independent adjudicator and code of practice without delay," he added.
Not the answer
However speaking to BigHospitality, a spokesperson for the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said the tied house system continued to be an 'excellent low-cost, low-risk business partnership that continues to evolve and respond to changing market conditions'.
"We would want to see these figures in detail before commenting further, but more legislation and new bureaucrats will simply add costly and inflexible red tape to Britain’s pub sector," he said.
"It will mean less investment and fewer jobs, which is the last thing the sector needs at this time. A mandatory free-of-tie option would only increase fixed costs for pubs."
The Camra survey also shows a stark difference in earnings - just one in a hundred tied pub licensees earn over £45k, as opposed to one in five who run free of tie pubs.
The organisation has called for greater regulation, more competitive prices and for more to be done to stop pubs becoming targets for property developers.
However the BBPA has said British pubgoers 'have never had a greater choice of beers to enjoy', including cask ale, which Camra champions. The association also said the industry had made 'huge progress' on self-regulation and that a new arbitration service for publicans was working,
“We all want to see thriving pubs. We need to continue to work together to promote great beer and pubs, pushing for lower taxation and less regulation. Statutory regulation is not the answer," the BBPA spokesperson added.