To Tie Or Not To Tie Part Trois

Well, the cat is out of the bag. The Business and Enterprise Select Committee’s report on the pubcos makes for uncomfortable reading for the government. The committee are highly critical of the relationship between pubco and tenant and were “surprised and disappointed” by the OFT’s refusal to re-examine the beer tie’s impact.

They also criticise the ludicrous (my words) and anti-competitive practice of pubcos selling sites with restrictive clauses, saying “We believe it is for the market to decide whether a pub is unviable and not for a pubco to restrict a building's use.” Exactly.

It’s important to stress that the committee don’t recommend doing away with the tie completely, but are calling for major reforms. These include greater transparency over rent-setting and an independent dispute resolutions system. They are urging the government to launch a Competition Commission inquiry-now that would be interesting.

Rather predictably, pub bandits Punch are unhappy with the report’s findings. Their spokesman claimed that “the tied pub model provides a fair and equitable approach to sharing risk between ourselves and our licensees.” And that “it represents a low cost opportunity for entrepreneurs.” He should team up with Jacqui Smith. They would make a great double act on the comedy circuit.


jever john said…
But is government intervention likely? Judging by their poor record so far,I'd say not.
sean said…
Hopefully the government will act on this issue.If enough media interest is created and pressure applied I'm optimistic.
elvis said…
This is potentially fantastic news.The freeing of tie,as I understand it,would mean much greater freedom for the pub goer and a better deal for the publican.Lets hope Mr Brown takes note.
camragirl said…
I haven't read it yet but if the committee are making a distinction between pubcos and the regional brewers, then we might be getting somewhere.
RedNev said…
Whatever comes out of all this, we mustn't have a quick fix. I recall that the last big shake-up, the Beer Orders, were welcomed in some quarters 20 years ago, but we are now having to live with the unintended consequences.

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