Industry rejects MPs' call for beer-tie investigation

21 May 2009 by
Industry rejects MPs' call for beer-tie investigation

Both sides in the debate over the controversial beer tie have warned against referring the issue to the Competition Commission, after the move was recommended by a panel of MPs last week.

In its long-awaited report, the Business and Enterprise Committee (BEC) accused the major pub companies of "downright bullying" of tenants. The BEC added that, while not all the difficulties faced by the industry had been caused by the beer tie, there remained evidence of "serious problems caused by the dominance of the large pub companies".

The committee, which was highly critical of the UK's two largest pub companies, Enterprise Inns and Punch Taverns, called for the beer-tie to be severely limited and for a Competition Commission investigation.

But while industry bodies such as the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) welcomed many of the report's findings, they all warned against a full-blown competition inquiry.

"A two- to three-year investigation would create huge disruption and uncertainty for the UK's pub owners, licensees and consumers," said Camra chief executive Mike Benner.

The FSB called instead for the immediate inclusion of an opt-out to the beer tie to be written into lessees' contracts.

Enterprise Inns and Punch Taverns both dismissed the report's findings and said there were no grounds for an inquiry, although the British Beer & Pub Association stressed that it would "welcome the opportunity to engage fully in such a process" as the beer tie is a "robust and sustainable business model".

The Office of Fair Trading said it would consider any new evidence it was presented with, while Consumer Affairs Minister Gareth Thomas hinted an enquiry could be forthcoming, stating the Government was "aware of concerns about the relationship between pub companies and their lessees".

Tom and Ed Martin to launch eighth gastropub, the Cadogan Arms >>

All-you-can-drink offers to be banned >>

Enterprise Inns and Punch Taverns hit back at damning beer-tie report >>

MPs accuse pubcos of ‘downright bullying' of tenants >>

By Chris Druce

E-mail your comments to Chris Druce here. jobs
Looking for a new job? Find your next pub job here with jobs

Blogs on]( Catch up with more news and gossip on all Caterer's blogs
[Newsletters For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our e-mail newsletters.
The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking