BBPA: new probe is an 'unwelcome distraction'

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Public house, Inflation, Camra, Pub association

Hastings: probe not required
Hastings: probe not required
The British Beer and Pub Association is "not concerned" by the new probe into the beer tie but sees it as an "unwelcome distraction".

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) is "not concerned" about the new probe into the beer tie but sees it as an "unwelcome and unnecessary distraction".

Reacting to news of a new probe by the Office of Fair Trading, instigated by the Campaign for Real Ale's "super complaint", BBPA spokesman Mark Hastings said: "We will study and consider the detail of Camra's complaint and will of course assist the OFT should it decide to proceed.

"While we are not concerned about the outcome of any possible OFT investigation, we do believe it would be an unwelcome and unnecessary distraction at a critical time for our industry.

"It would undoubtedly consume valuable time and resources that would be better devoted to trying to support pubs through the problems caused by the economic downturn.

"Furthermore, every single pub owning company has made and is continuing to make changes to the structure and operation of their business as they try to keep pace with one of the fastest and deepest economic downturns on record.

"We are also an active participant in the mediation process which is designed to deliver a package of reforms that will benefit all stakeholders in the pub sector.

"Camra's key argument is that consumers are disadvantaged by the tie by having to pay more for their beer. However, the numbers do not support this argument.

"The market data shows quite clearly that beer drinkers pay broadly the same for their pint whether they buy it in a free trade or a tied pub.

"Camra's illustration of beer price inflation since 1990 is interesting. While, as they say, RPI has increased by 63%, overall prices in the services sector overall have increased by 104% and pub beer prices reflect that.

"Of course beer prices have also had to reflect a 20% increase in tax over the last 14 months alone."

Related topics: Legislation, Other operators

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