Lib Dems will reform beer tie

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Lib dems Liberal democrats Social liberalism

Foster: plan to help protect community pubs
Foster: plan to help protect community pubs
The Lib Dems would reform the beer tie and insist on a Competition Commission investigation into pub ownership.

The Lib Dems would reform the beer tie, insist on a Competition Commission investigation into pub ownership, ban cheap supermarket booze and review the beer duty escalator if they got into power.

In a separate pubs manifesto, issued today, the Lib Dems outlined their plans for the sector. The Lib Dems said that the beer tie "can be unfair to tenants" and "harm consumers".

It said it would:

• impose a statutory code of practice to ensure the tied tenant is no worse off then if free of tie

• Ensure all tenants have a guest beer option and a free of tie option. Brewers with under 500 pubs would be exempt

• Scrap upwards only rent reviews and changes to rental valuations

• Abolish machine tie

"The issues facing the leased pub sector should be referred to the Competition Commission who should consider whether there should be a maximum limit on the number of pubs owned by any one pub company, both nationally and in any one region/area," it said.

Minimum price

The party also said it is in favour of a minimum price and a ban ban on below cost selling. It would review the controversial duty escalator and "explore the possibility a preferential duty for draft beers which are more expensive to both serve and store, something that would help pubs".

The Lib Dems also want to see changes to planning laws to protect pubs from demolition or change of use to restaurants, cafes or shops plus a right to buy scheme for local communities and an end to restrictive covenants.

On business rates, the Lib Dems want to make small company rate relief automatic and encourage local authorities to use discretionary powers to increase relief to 100%.

Finally, it wants to cut red tape for pubs and re-introduce the two in a bar rule for unamplified music and allow venues for up to 200 people to host live music without the need for an entertainment licence.

Real changes

"Pubs have been closing at an alarming rate in recent years, yet the Labour Government has failed to act to save them," said shadow culture secretary Don Foster. 

"The Liberal Democrats are committed to bringing forward real changes that will help to protect community pubs."

Greg Mulholland, chair of the Save the Party Group, added: "Pubs bring people together, often as a focal point for community, social, sporting and charitable activity.

"The Liberal Democrats want to make sure local people have a say over the future of their pubs.

"We need to support and protect pubs and give licensees a fair deal. It's time to reform the beer tie to stop pub companies exploiting tenants."

Download the full manifesto here​.

Related topics Beer Legislation

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