Sutcliffe: beer tie must be addressed

By Lesley Foottit

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Beer tie, Uk mps 2005-, Members of the united kingdom parliament for english constituencies

Sutcliffe: concerns exist over beer tie
Sutcliffe: concerns exist over beer tie
The licensing minister tells a Westminster debate that the beer tie is an issue that "needs to be addressed".

Licensing minister Gerry Sutcliffe has said the beer tie is an issue that "needs to be addressed" and other Government ministers have concerns about it.

The tie was a popular talking point among MPs during a debate in Westminster on the future of pubs.

Sutcliffe said "There are competition issues that need to be addressed" about the tie and the Campaign for Real Ale is taking the 'right route' by asking the Office of Fair Trading to re-examine it."

He also flagged up the fact ministers in other Government departments have concerns about the tie.

Conservative MP and tie critic Nigel Evans, who called the debate, highlighted the financial burden that is "clobbering" pubs and the beer tie that is "strangling" licensees.

He also drew attention to the "crippling" supermarket pricing, insurance and duty.

And in a welcome move, Conservative shadow licensing minister Tobias Ellwood said a Tory Government would show "more flexibility" over business rates for pubs.

"This Government just doesn't get it," Ellwood said. "It is time for change."

Other problems highlighted by MPs included the cost of Sky TV. Evans said a licensee in his constituency pays £594 monthly to the broadcaster and is unable to make up the cost in profit due to capacity restrictions in her pub.

Ellwood said: "After meetings with Sky, I am pleased to say it is reviewing the issue."

Evans, vice chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, questioned why new pubs minister John Healey failed to attend the debate.

Evans told the Morning Advertiser after the hearing: "I am certain we will see some announcements from John Healey before the general election."

Related topics: Beer

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