CAMRA supports argument for introducing legislation north of border
FRESH calls have been issued for a forthcoming statutory code of practice for pub companies to be implemented in Scotland as well as south of the border.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has called on the Scottish Government to match Westminster’s plans to introduce a code of practice, which is designed to govern the relationship between pub companies and their tenants, after a new survey revealed 99% of tied lessees north of the border would support such a move.
The poll, which was commissioned by CAMRA and conducted by CGA Strategy, claimed that 64.5% of Scottish tied pubco lessees earn less than £15,000 a year and, of those, 10.5% said they earn less than £10,000. Almost three quarters (74%) of those polled said they “considered themselves worse off as a result of their tie”, while 95.6% of respondents “believed that paying a reduced rent did not fully take into account the higher prices they paid for their tied products”.
Almost all (99%) of those surveyed said the Scottish Government “should act to ensure the protections afforded to tied licensees in England and Wales also applied in Scotland”.
The pubs code is part of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, which is currently going through the UK parliament. However, it emerged last year that the proposals only apply to premises licensed under the 2003 Licensing Act (England and Wales).
Colin Valentine, CAMRA national chairman, said: “Despite over 1000 pubs in Scotland being tied to pub companies, measures to protect hard-working licensees as part of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill are not currently being introduced in Scotland.
“The evidence unmistakably shows that not only is there the same need for an adjudicator in Scotland as there is in other parts of the UK, but also that tied licensees in Scotland want to see the system put in place. It’s for this reason that passing a legislative consent motion is clearly the first step in addressing the many issues facing tied pub licensees in Scotland.”
Lynn Adams, who runs the George bar in Hamilton and is a long-standing campaigner for pubco reform, said: “We have to get clarification on the position regarding Scottish tenants. At the moment Scottish pubs are out in the cold.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said ministers met with CAMRA and “representatives who have an interest in creating a pub adjudicator” last year. “We have always said we would look at any evidence which supported the creation of a pub adjudicator,” he said. “We welcome CAMRA’s contribution to the debate, look forward to receiving details of the survey and discussing it with CAMRA in due course.”