Speaking during Labour’s opposition debate in the House of Commons today (21 January), Griffiths said: “It is because of the beer orders and ill thought-out legislation that we find ourselves in this situation today.
“The reality is the unintended consequences of this legislation will cause many more pubs to close and see a further decline in the great British pub. I urge the House not to go down the route of legislation.”
He said if a mandatory free-of-tie option was introduced, it would mean the Government would be able to tell brewers what they can charge for beer and rent and the tenant would be able to sell beer not owned by the brewer – likening the scenario to a McDonalds manager deciding to serve Kentucky Fried Chicken in order to generate more profit.
“Successful pubs well-run by brewers would end up not selling the beer the pub was built on,” he said.
“Many pub companies are nursing pubs because they cannot find a tenant or a buyer. The economic model would mean pub companies would need to free themselves of pubs, and lead to thousands closing in a very short space of time.”
He also urged the Government to carefully consider the Office of Fair Trading response to the consultation, in which it warned that intervention in the tenanted pub model could lead to high rents for tenants and higher prices for customers. He also cited a report released by London Economics last year, which said legislation could close up to 1,600 pubs.