By Daniel Hunter
The Forum of Private Business was among a group of organisations who today (Thursday) launched an awareness-raising campaign for a government consultation exercise which could deliver a fair deal for ‘tied’ pubs.
The Fair Deal for Your Local, which launched this afternoon, encourages the public to take part in the consultation process, the results of which will be used by government to deliver regulations to stop big pub chains abusing landlord tenants by forcing them to buy beer at inflated prices — the so called ‘beer tie’.
The consultation will also look at whether a pub watchdog to arbitrate in disputes on issues such as inflated rents has public support, and whether such a body should have fining powers.
“Today’s campaign is really all about urging anyone who enjoys a tipple at their local to take part in this consultation exercise, which is likely to shape the industry for decades to come,” said the Forum’s Chief Executive, Phil Orford.
“We very much support the principle that a tied licensee should be no worse off than a free-of-tie licensee.
“The future of the pub industry as we know it today rests on the outcome of the consultation, so frankly the more people who take part the better. It really could help stem the tide of pub closures we’ve seen right across the country, and ultimately even mean cheaper prices for many. It’s high time for drinkers to mobilise and get behind their local pub.”
He added: “The fundamental problem is that the large pub companies are taking more than is reasonable or fair from the profits of tied pub. A fair deal will result in the average tied pub being £4,000 better off annually — and as small business owners we think they need this help now more than ever.
The Forum has joined other bodies, including CAMRA, Fair Pint, the Pubs Advisory Service, and union Licensees Unite to champion the campaign, and also sponsored today’s launch event in Reading.
Added Orford: “Plans for a new code of practice governing the pub sector is the first step towards properly enforcing fairness in the sector. This is an issue we firmly believe in, and consider it the best route to making life for struggling publicans that bit better.
“Many are trying to run businesses with both hands tied behind their backs due to the models they are forced to follow, so it's really pleasing to see at the heart of the consultation a tied licensee will not be worse off than a free-of-tie licensee.
“This is key to ensuring publicans have more autonomy to make their businesses a success and it can’t happen soon enough.”
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