Campaigners are calling for the introduction of a pubs watchdog to rule on disputes between licensees and large pub companies (pubcos), as well as a guest beer right and a market rent-only option for licensees tied to these firms.
“It is absolutely vital that the Government disarms the ticking time bomb threatening the nation’s pubs. The current model is weighted far too heavily in the favour of the pub company at the expense of the licensee and it is essential the Government acts now to redress the balance, before thousands more people lose their livelihood.These measures are essential in order to create a level playing field for licensees, ensuring those tied to the large pubcos are no worse off than those that are free of tie,” said Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s national chairman.
The petition was delivered to Business Secretary Vince Cable on 14 May, and over 100 campaigners, pub-goers and licensees gathered outside Parliament to rally behind his pledge to end the ‘great British pub scandal’.
CAMRA added that it is essential that Vince Cable “sticks to his guns” and makes an announcement in the next few weeks to allow action before the upcoming general election.
The government launched a consultation over a year ago but has yet to make an announcement regarding the reform, despite a recent letter to CAMRA from Vince Cable stating: “We intend very soon to publish the government response to our pubs consultation and to announce the next steps.”
Tied licensees must currently purchase their beer and other products from pub companies at an inflated rate, often at least 50 per cent more expensive than the market rate, according to CAMRA. “As a result 57 per cent of tied licensees earn less than £10k a year,” added the organisation.