Document aims to ‘set record straight’ on pubco reform, group says
By Gillian McKenzie
SCOTTISH pub tenants have welcomed the launch of a “myth-busting” report by the campaign group lobbying for pubco reform – but say questions remain over whether any such reform would impact north of the border.
Published by the Fair Deal For Your Local campaign, the ‘Setting the Record Straight’ document outlines and responds to what the group claims are the 15 “most common myths” about pubco reform.
Stating that there is “immediate need for reform”, the Fair Deal for your Local campaign – a coalition of organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses, CAMRA and the GMB trade union – wants the UK government to introduce a market rent only (free of tie) option for tenants as part of a statutory code of practice for big pubcos.
The campaign group published the report ahead of the UK government’s response to a consultation on pub companies and tenants by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which closed in June. The UK government said it intends to publish a response to the consultation “towards the end of 2013”.
But pub tenants north of the border remain concerned they might “miss out” after learning the proposed code of practice would only apply in England and Wales. The Fair Deal for your Local campaign met with Scottish enterprise and tourism minister Fergus Ewing in May to outline its objectives.
Pubco reform campaigner Lynn Adams, who runs the George bar in Hamilton, told SLTN she welcomed the publication of the “myth-busting” report.
“But we’re still in the same position because we don’t know if Scotland will be included,” she said.
“The campaign has supplied the Scottish Government with information on pricing and case histories and we’re still campaigning for Scotland to be included.
“There are lots of questions still to be answered, including how it will affect English-based pub companies with Scottish tenants and vice-versa.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Scottish ministers are giving consideration on the implications given the make-up of the pub industry in Scotland is very different to that in operation in England.
“In contrast, of the 5000 pubs and bars in Scotland, 65% are freehold (and, therefore, not affected by this proposal), leaving 35% as tenanted pubs and bars.”