Cheers all round as pub tenant Bill makes it way through Holyrood – Jackie Baillie, Tommy Murray at The Glencairn in Bridge Street, Dumbarton and Neil Bibby MSP.
Cheers all round as Tied Pubs Bill makes progress at Holyrood
February 12, 2018 – A campaign backed by local MSP Jackie Baillie to reform Scotland’s pubs is toasting a major milestone as a proposal for a Tied Pubs Bill secured cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament.
The Bill, launched by Labour MSP Neil Bibby, would create a statutory Pubs Code to regulate the relationship between tied pub tenants and their pub-owning landlords and an independent Adjudicator to enforce the code.
Tied pub tenants in Scotland would gain statutory protection, with restrictions eased on the range of drinks they can stock.
The Bill is backed by a broad coalition including the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, the Campaign for Real Ale, GMB Scotland, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Pubs Advisory Service and many small brewers. Over 90 per cent of responses to a consultation on the Bill published last month supported legislation.
Jackie said: “This proposal is about fairness, choice and jobs. Fairness for tied pub tenants, choice for Scotland’s pub goers and jobs in the pub and brewing industries.
“These reforms would make it easier for tied pubs in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh to stock locally brewed craft beers from places like Loch Lomond Brewery. This would ensure that money spent in our town centres stays in the local economy, supporting jobs and small businesses, rather than going straight to multinational companies.”
Labour MSP Neil Bibby said: “The status quo is not an option and I am delighted that I can now introduce a Tied Pubs Bill. Getting to this stage is a real step forward towards getting a fairer deal for consumers and tied licensees in Scotland.
“MSPs from across the Scottish Parliament have signed my proposal and I am now asking the Scottish Government to work with me to deliver a much-needed change in the law and a fairer deal for Scotland’s tied pubs and the brewing industry.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish Licensed Trade Association said: “The SLTA is delighted that Neil Bibby’s proposal for a Tied Pubs Bill has received cross party support and will now progress to the next stage in the Parliamentary process.
“Pubs and Bars in Scotland are currently facing unprecedented difficulties in the current economic climate and tenant licensees have the additional challenge of operating in this environment with, in the majority of cases, their Pubco landlords creating an unfair, noncompetitive marketplace for this sector which leads to a serious effect on the economy and the fragile health of the licensed trade industry.
“Tenant licensees are in a very vulnerable position and the sector needs legislation in Scotland to ensure that pub tenants get a fair deal and that they are no worse off than a free-of-tie licensee.”
The Bill currently has the support of 29 MSPs from across four political parties. These are: Richard Leonard, Willie Rennie, Patrick Harvie, Dean Lockhart, Kezia Dugdale, Maurice Golden, Jackie Baillie, Neil Findlay, Tavish Scott, Rachael Hamilton, Johann Lamont, Daniel Johnson, Alex Rowley, James Kelly, Anas Sarwar, Mark Griffin, Mary Fee, David Stewart, Elaine Smith, Claire Baker, Jenny Marra, Iain Gray, Claudia Beamish, Andy Wightman, Ross Greer, Lewis Macdonald, Alex Cole-Hamilton, Pauline McNeill and Colin Smyth
The findings of the consultation on Neil Bibby’s Tied Pubs Bill were published last month. 93% of responses were supportive of the Bill, including 87% who described themselves as ‘fully supportive’. 85% of respondents were supportive of establishing a MRO option, including 75% who were fully supportive. 87% were supportive of an Adjudicator imposing financial penalties to enforce the Tied Pubs Code, including 78.6% who were fully supportive. 68% of respondents agreed that the Bill would lead to a reduction in costs for tied pub tenants.