Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Adjudicator appointed for the pub trade

Good news reaches me from Liberal Dem HQ, in the shape of the announcement by Vince Cable that a new independent pubs adjudicator is to be appointed to help struggling landlords suffering from unfair practices in the industry.

The adjudicator will enforce a new statutory Code, which will oversee the relationship between publicans and large pub companies (pubcos). It will ensure publicans get a fair deal on rent and the prices they pay for beer.

A party press release quotes Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland, chair of the all-party parliamentary Save the Pub Group, who has long campaigned for a fairer deal for pubs:
“Pubs are a cornerstone of our community and many have been struggling in recent years. 
“This is great news for pubs, pubco publicans and customers and is a huge boost in terms of the Coalition Government delivering the promise to be a pro-pub Government. This will at last enshrine in law that a pubco licensee is no worse off than a Free House licensee. 
“The latest attempt at self-regulation has been a farce. There was a deliberate attempt to avoid the central problem of pubcos taking more than is fair from pub profits. It’s a great credit to Vince Cable and the Coalition Government who have finally taken the necessary action. 
“Liberal Democrats will be continuing to work in the Coalition Government to ensure tied pubco licensees can keep a fair share of their profit and have a much brighter future.”
And Lib Dem blogger Gareth Epps has welcomed the announcement too:
 the infamous revolving door of BIS that saw the now utterly-discredited pubco lobbyists, the British Beer & Pub Association, allowed to write documents for the Government has been stopped after the departure of Ed Davey from BIS. Subsequent Ministers have looked at the evidence and it is to the great credit of Vince Cable, Jo Swinson and not forgetting Norman Lamb that action has at long last been taken. 
And that action includes preventing abuses of the beer tie, which oblige publicans to sell particular types of beer. It would enshrine the fundamental principle that ‘a tied licensee should be no worse off than a free-of-tie-licensee’ which will ensure a level playing field is maintained in the pub sector.

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