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Support For Tied Pub Tenants

Monday, December 16, 2013

GMB Welcome Overwhelming And Unprecedented Support For Statutory Regulation For Pubs Free Market In BIS Consultation

No shock that there is a clear division between supporters - those at the coal face and consumers- and those who object - those who benefit from the current arrangement- says GMB.

GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, commented on a letter from BIS Consumer Affairs Minister on the publication of responses to the Government’s consultation on establishing a statutory code of practice to govern the relationship between pub companies and their tenants. See notes to editors for BIS press comment and copy of Jo Swinson’s letter to GMB of 13 December.

Steve Kemp, GMB national officer, said “GMB welcome the overwhelming and unprecedented response from tenants and the public supporting statutory regulation for a free market for products and fair rents. The over 8,000 responses shows that the public want to see an end to pubco abuses.

As expected there is a clear division between those who support reform, those at the coal face and consumers, and those who object to reform, those who benefit from the current arrangement

The London Economics report actually depicts two very different scenarios in its conclusions, despite only seeking information from those parties that benefit from the status quo.

It is unfortunate that the London Economics report also appears to be using a 46% figures on the number of tenants earning less than £15, 000 rather than the 2013 figures which show 80 % earning less than £15,000.

This amount of detailed responses from so many quarters needs careful analysis. GMB economic experts and members will analyse the responses and assess key assumptions and scenarios set out by London Economics. GMB tied tenants are thankfully all busy at this time of year so it will be next month before GMB responds to this BIS letter.

The volume of support for reform shows that Parliament needs to press on to legislate the statutory code with a free of tie option with tenants able to buy products on the open market and pay a fair rent for the building. The aim is to lower sky high rents and wholesale prices charged by pubcos.

To pay sky high rents and wholesale prices 45% above free market prices a pint of lager is on average 80p per pint higher and ale is 65p per pint higher than justified by inflation and like for like changes in taxes since 1987. This is pricing pubs out of the market and they have closed in droves.

We need Parliament to legislate option 3 in the draft statutory code to allow tenants to buy products on the open market and pay a fair rent for the building."

Contact Steve Kemp GMB on 07730 898 102 or GMB press office 07921 289880

Notes to editors

1 A BIS spokesperson on 13th December said as follows "There has been, and continues to be, a high level of interest in the consultation on pub companies and tenants. We received over 1,100 written responses and more than 7,000 responses to the online survey.

"It is a complex issue and we want to consider carefully all the evidence that has been presented to us. The evidence we're publishing today demonstrates the wide range of views on this issue, all of which we will take into account when we publish our response to the consultation."

2 Letter from Jo Swinson of 13 December 2013

PUB COMPANIES AND TENANTS: A GOVERNMENT CONSULTATION

Thank you for responding to the Government’s consultation on establishing a statutory Code of Practice and an independent Adjudicator to govern the relationship between pub companies and their tenants.

The response to the consultation has been staggering and demonstrates the depth of feeling on this issue. We received 1,120 written responses and 7,038 responses to the online questionnaire. Responses came from a wide range of interested parties. These included tenants, brewers, pub companies and their employees as well as a number of interest groups and trade bodies, supply chain companies, consumers and political representatives.

We committed to publishing the responses which we have done today at:

www.gov.uk/government/consultations/pub-companies-and-tenants-consultation

The consultation closed on Friday 14 June and all written responses received by 9am on Monday 17 June have now been published. We have sought to publish all responses but redactions have been made to ensure we properly handle personal and commercial data.

In the consultation, we committed to commission independent analysis of the impact of our proposals on pub closures and employment levels and today we have also published research from London Economics. Other survey data has been published since the close of the consultation by the Federation of Small Businesses

Pub Companies and Tenants: A Government Response

http://www.fsb.org.uk/frontpage/assets/pubs%20research.pdf and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers http://www.almr.org.uk/hotpdfs/214.pdf.

While we had intended to publish our response to the consultation before the end of the year, and I understand that those affected by the proposals need clarity from us, it is important that we do not rush into a decision. We promised Government intervention to address the unfairness in the relationship between pub companies and tenants and this remains our commitment. We also said that intervention would be proportionate and targeted and, in taking the time to process, evaluate and assess the excellent response to the consultation, that remains our goal. We will decide on the next steps very soon.

Thank you again for taking the time to respond to the consultation.

Yours sincerelyJo Swinson

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