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Government has 'open mind' on beer tie referral

By Ewan Turney , 25-Aug-2010

Davey: closely monitoring pubco progress

Davey: closely monitoring pubco progress

The Government has confirmed it has an "open mind" on referring the beer tie to the Competition Commission.


Consumer Affairs minister Ed Davey, in charge of competition issues, said the Government would be closely monitoring pubco reform ahead of the June 2011 deadline set by the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee.


"At the same time, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has consulted on its decision not to take action over the CAMRA super complaint," said Davey.


"The OFT will consider parties' responses to the consultation, including additional evidence as may be put forward as part of the parties' representations, and pursue such further investigations as it considers appropriate, before publishing its final view regarding the super-compliant.


"At this stage the Government retains an open mind on a reference to the Competition Commission."


Fair Pint spokesman Steve Corbett welcomed the news. "Some in the industry thought that a change of Government might take the heat of the 'pubcos', but it is clear that the new Government has the industry on notice and will be prepared to make a reference to the Competition Commission or take legislative action if the industry shows itself to be unwilling to give tied landlords a better deal and the option of freedom from the tie.


"In conjunction with other members of the Independent Pub Confederation, Fair Pint is continuing to draw the Government's and Parliamentarian's attention to the unfairness of tied lease arrangements and the need for intervention to bring proper competition to the pub sector."


The OFT is due to report next month.

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