The Fair Deal for Your Local campaign delivered a letter to David Cameron and George Osborne at Downing Street urging them not to back down on a ‘clear and unequivocal commitment’ to introducing a statutory code of practice.
Campaigners first gathered at the Houses of Parliament for a meeting at which Conservative and Lib Dem MPs plus representatives from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the GMB union and the Fair Pint campaign, among others, urged the Government to introduce recommendations from the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee.
The BISC chair Adrian Bailey also addressed the meeting, saying: “I can assure you this is not going off the political agenda and as chair of BIS if we do not get suitable legislation in the Queen’s Speech then we will be having the ministers in front of us in order to get them to explain why. We will keep up relentless and unremitting pressure on the Government to come up with a set of proposals which is in accordance with the wishes vast majority of tenants and which we feel will deliver support and reinforcement to the industry.”
The letter delivered to Parliament said the 25th anniversary of the Beer Orders was the right time for the Government to ‘back Britain’s pubs’ by introducing a statutory code of practice with a market rent only option for tenants and lessees of the pubcos.
It said: “The coalition’s very welcome cut in beer duty will not help the 20,000 or so pubs toed to the large companies unless this ‘pubco price escalator’ is dealt with through a fair deal for local pubs – the option to pay rent only and not excessive beer prices”.
It added: “The Government itself has committed to introducing a statutory code of practice for the large companies to deliver fairness and to enshrine in law the long-accepted but largely ignored principle that the tied licensee should not be worse off than a free of tie licence. So, you must not back down on that clear and unequivocal commitment.”
Greg Mulholland, chairman of the Parliamentary Save the Pub Group and coordinator of the Fair Deal of Your Local campaign, said: “Twenty five years ago, a Conservative Prime Minister and Chancellor correctly identified that the unhealthy dominance of the big six brewers was stopping small breweries getting access to market and giving consumers a poor deal. Now 25 years on, we have a Conservative Prime Minister who must act to deal with the mistake made then – and now intervene to stop the rip-off beer prices and rents being charged by the large pubcos.”