GMB Members Join Rally As Parliament Votes Today On Market Rent Only Clause In Small Business Bill To Give Pubco Pub Tenants A Fair Deal
It is difficult to underestimate the importance of this amendment to the Small Business and Enterprise Bill to saving the nation’s 25,000 tied pubs says GMB.
GMB tied pub tenants are taking part in a rally and lobby in Parliament today ( Tuesday 18th November) from 11.15am to call on all MPs to vote today for a new "freedom" Clause 2 in the Small Business Bill which will put a ‘market rent only’ (MRO) option for tied pub tenants on to the statute book.
The Government is committed to introducing a statutory code of practice for the large pub companies in the Small Business Bill that reaches its Report stage today in Parliament. That Bill will enshrine in law the long accepted but largely ignored principle: that the tied licensee should not be worse off than a free of tie licensee. The Bill as currently drafted, it is unclear how the plans would stop the large pubcos continuing to charge hugely inflated prices and excessive rents to their tenants.
A cross party new clause to clarify how the plan will work was tabled by Greg Mulholland, Chair of the Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, Adrian Bailey, Chair of the BIS Select Committee and Brian Binley, a member of the Select Committee and President of the Save the Pub Group with support from MPs across the house. The vote on the new clause takes place today (Tues 18th) by 4pm at the latest.
The details of the rally are as follows:
Meet from 11.15am Tuesday 18th November
In Old Palace Yard (opposite Parliament)
The rally and lobby is organized by Fair Deal for Your Local campaign coalition backed by 10 organisations including GMB. There will be pubco tenants from all parts of Britain attending the rally and going into the House to lobby their local MP to vote for the new clause today.
MPs have an opportunity to vote for this cross party New Clause at the report stage of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill today (November 18th. This new clause would introduce the market rent only option for tenants of the large pubcos, who own more than 500 pubs, with this applying only to companies that own 500 or more pubs, applying to their leased, tenanted and franchised pubs only.
The new clause lays out the basic process and shows that the market rent only option is a simple, cheap to administer and market based solution that at certain trigger points would simply give licensees the choice as to whether to pay a fair rent only or stick with a tied agreement. This choice would force the large pub companies to ensure that their tied agreements – where tenants pay marked up prices for beer and other products and services - are competitive, fair and attractive to tenants..
The New Clause is supported by the national campaign for reform of the unfair pubco model, the Fair Deal for Your Local campaign coalition backed by 10 organisations. See list in notes to editors below.
Dave Mountford, a GMB publican who was part of the campaign for changes since 2008, said “it is difficult to underestimate the importance of this amendment to the Small Business and Enterprise Bill to saving the nation’s 25,000 pubs tied pubs.
Not only will this amendment achieve the Governments required objective, that the tied tenant will be no worse off than the free of tie tenant, a Market rent Only option will provide the opportunity for an otherwise closed market to grow, freeing up entrepreneurs to operate their businesses free from an antiquated system practiced almost nowhere else.
This option will force the industry to reassess a model corrupted by the influence of the large Pub companies and make those companies “earn the right to the tie”, something they have conspicuously failed to do for over 20 years and highlighted by 4 cross party investigations.
We urge every MP to ignore the pressures of their Party and use logic, common sense and a massive wealth of evidence and vote Yes to change our industry and save our Pubs.”
Karl Harrison, a founder member of Fair Pint campaign, said The Market Rent Only option was proposed over 6 years ago by a parliamentary select committee as being the solution to the abuse heaped on small licensed businesses by large pub companies. That was correct then and its correct now.
The MRO option will, over a period of time, create more normal and competitive market conditions in the tied pub sector. It will stimulate entrepreneurial innovation and real investment into the sector. It will force pub companies to offer competitive agreements and will offer potential for small and upcoming brewers to freely access a large part of the pub market from which they have until now been excluded or permitted restricted access.
Some larger companies will need to adapt their business model and curtail anti-competitive complacency. What’s not to like.”
Contact: Steve Kemp 07730 898102 or Dave Mountford GMB publican part of the campaign for changes on 07792 198 954 or GMB press office 07921 289880.
Notes to editors
The organisations behind the Fair Deal for Your Local campaign are:
The Federation of Small Businesses
The Guild of Master Victuallers
Pubs Advisory Service
Forum for Private Business
Licensees Supporting Licensees
Justice for Licensees
Licensees Unite the Union
The Fair Deal for Your Local campaign website is www.fairdealforyourlocal.com
and on Twitter use @fairdeal4yourlocal and #fairdeal4yourlocal.