Chocks Away

And we’re off. After much speculation, CAMRA has finally exercised its “super-complaint” power. This will force the Office of Fair Trading to fast-track (within 30 days) consideration of anti-competitive practices in the UK pub market.

The problem as laid out in their complaint-A Fair Share for the Consumer is that unjustifiable high rents and tied beer prices are contributing to the grim harvest of pub closures. And they’re not exactly benefitting the consumer, either. Which is the whole idea of exclusive purchasing agreements as allowed by the EU.

CAMRA aren’t seeking an end of the tie, merely progressive reform to allow more of the benefits to be passed onto landlord and customer alike. And for tied pubs to be allowed to buy in one “guest beer” (sounds familiar)-well, they are the Campaign For Real Ale.

In terms of pub rents, they are seeking an independent and fair assessment method which allows the licensee access to how the rent is calculated. And it must take account of the fact that the licensee is paying inflated prices for his stock. Certainly one measure that everyone seems to agree with is the end of the “restrictive covenant” whereby pubcos can prevent the pub being used as a licensed premises in the future.

The ball will firmly be in the OFT court now. So keep watching the skies.


stuart said…
What could the OFT do should they agree with Camra's complaint?
camragirl said…
This could be opening a Pandora's box of trouble. The danger is that instead of reforming the tie as you suggest,that the government will simply abolish it. Which would be a mistake in my opinion.
kevin said…
I'm in favour of getting rid of the tie.More pubs need access to a better range of drinks and the ending of the tie will bring benefits to customers as well as publicans.It cannot be right that such a block on free trade is allowed.Big pub companies have gotten greedy and need to be reigned in.
Maybe there's a punchers chance but I'm highly unoptimistic
Tandleman said…
I agree with camrgirl that there are dangers, but the PubCos need sorting. I think the IFFB lobby will safeguard the Family Brewers though.

But there are risks. Look at the Beer Orders.
Paul Garrard said…
Beer Orders is well worth remembering. I'm in favour of the tie but perhaps there is room for some softening at the edges.

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