Government minister "pleased" OFT may look at pubco issues

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Oft European commission European union European parliament

A government minister has said he is aware of the "concerns" around pubco power and is "pleased" the Office for Fair Trading (OFT) might re-examine...

A government minister has said he is aware of the "concerns" around pubco power and is "pleased" the Office for Fair Trading (OFT) might re-examine the issues.

Consumer Affairs Minister Gareth Thomas has spoken out following yesterday's hard-hitting Business and Enterprise Committee (BEC) report.

"The government is aware of concerns about the relationship between pub companies and their lessees," Thomas said.

"So I'm pleased the OFT has confirmed that it would carefully consider a complaint brought by a consumer body, such as the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)."

The Office for Fair Trading has said it would consider "very carefully" a fast-track complaint about pubco power - and respond within 90 days.

It said it will consider any "new evidence" on competition issues raised in the BEC pubco inquiry.

The report, which found "alarming evidence" of problems caused by the dominance of the pubcos, recommended the issue be referred to the Competition Commission.

But in light of the minister's remarks it may have to go through the OFT first.

However the OFT is able to refer a market investigation to the Competition Commission when it has reasonable grounds to suspect that a feature of the market prevents, restricts or distorts competition

The government is due to respond separately to the report's recommendations before parliamentary summer recess on July 21.

Despite agreeing to re-examine the issue, the OFT said: "Specific competition issues within the beer and pub sector have been examined in depth by the Competition Commission, the European Commission and the OFT over the years. Since then, the OFT has not received evidence that would lead it to believe that a wider investigation was warranted."

The BEC report criticised the OFT for failing to act on the issue in the past.

But CAMRA has said it will consider using its "super complainant" status to lodge the issue of the beer tie with the OFT.

Related topics Legislation

Property of the week


£ 60,000 - Leasehold

Busy location on coastal main road Extensively renovated detached public house Five trade areas (100)  Sizeable refurbished 4-5 bedroom accommodation Newly created beer garden (125) Established and popular business...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more