A LONG-standing campaigner for pubco reform has called for the measures outlined in a proposed new statutory code of practice to be implemented in Scotland as well as south of the border.
Lynn Adams, who runs The George in Hamilton, said she is “deeply concerned” Scottish tenants could miss out on the proposed mandatory rules for pub companies outlined in the consultation after the UK Government’s department for Business, Innovation & Skills confirmed the measures only apply to England and Wales as the matter is devolved.
The Scottish Government said ministers are considering whether or not to extend the proposals to cover Scotland.
The proposed code, which was launched last week by business secretary Vince Cable, aims to ensure that pubcos with more than 500 outlets charge “fair rents and beer prices”, treat tenants “fairly and lawfully” and that “tied pubs are no worse off than free-of-tie pubs”. If lessees think they have been treated unfairly or there has been a breach of the code, they will be able to complain to an adjudicator, who will investigate and arbitrate the dispute; the adjudicator will have the power to impose fines on pubcos.
Adams welcomed the consultation on a statutory code, but said she fears “cross-border conflict” if the measures are not adopted in Scotland.
“I’m hugely disappointed that after 20 years of campaigning to get a fairer deal for tenants there is a chance Scottish tenants could be left out of this,” she said. “It’s not an option to leave them high and dry.
“I’m deeply concerned that Scottish tenants may not be included and I will continue to fight to ensure we are represented in this somehow.”
A spokesman for CAMRA said: “The consultation proposals apply to England and Wales only, but the government has assured us that discussions are taking place with the devolved administrations to determine whether or not similar proposals could be extended to the whole of the UK.”
Star Pubs & Bars said it will respond to the consultation on a “total business basis”.
“We shall await with interest to see how the Scottish Government responds to this issue,” said a spokeswoman.
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “Scottish ministers are giving consideration as to whether we would be interested in extending these proposals to cover Scotland.
“The make-up of the pub industry in Scotland is very different to that in operation in England.”