Think tank report adds to calls for beer tie reform

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Community pubs Government Alcoholic beverage

Pressure on the government to order a re-examination of the beer tie will be stepped up further today when an independent think tank presents a...

Pressure on the government to order a re-examination of the beer tie will be stepped up further today when an independent think tank presents a report to MPs on how to help community pubs.

The report, Pubs and Places: the social value of community pubs​, makes a series of wide-ranging recommendations relating to government policy and how the industry currently operates.

However it notes there is no "magic bullet" that will solve the problems facing the UK's community pubs.

But among the report's recommendations are a "re-balancing of the relationship between pubcos and their tenants".

The report, published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), states: "There is evidence that the beer tie and in some cases rent increases by pub companies have prevented otherwise viable pubs from succeeding."

It adds: "It is clear that the tie as it is being operated at the moment by some of the pub companies does limited the ability of tenants to compete effectively by keeping their beer prices high."

However it admits that scrapping the beer tie would be a "Pandora's Box" and suggests its removal would create "another set of equally troubling problems" - such as harming regional brewers and pubcos increasing licensees' dry rent.

Instead of asking the Competition Commission to look at the issue, it asks for the government to refer the tie to the Office of Fair Trading.

The report also recommends:

  • Existing tenants should be given first option of buying their pub
  • Business rate relief for pubs that are centres of their community
  • Pubs should be allowed to apply for third sector grants
  • More protection for community pubs in planning law
  • A minimum price for alcohol
  • The government abandons its beer duty escalator

Mike Benner, chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale, which helped compile the report, said: "At a time of unprecedented pub closures, this report will help Local Councils and National Government recognise the importance of well-run pubs to strong communities and thriving local economies.

"Well-run community pubs not only provide a safe and relaxed environment for people to enjoy a drink but they also form the bedrock of community life and people's social networks.

"Virtual networking sites such as Facebook and My Space will never be able to replace the experience of socialising in person in the Great British Pub."

Related topics Beer

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