Mulholland tells brewing pubcos to 'work with me' on MRO clause

By Mike Berry

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Market rent Beer

Mulholland: Calls for the three large brewing pubcos to work with him
Mulholland: Calls for the three large brewing pubcos to work with him
Save the Pub Group chair Greg Mulholland MP has issued an ultimatum to the three large brewing pubcos to work with him or risk losing the right in the new pubs code to insist tenants sell their brands in their pubs.

Last week MPs voted to introduce a clause into the Small Business Bill which outlines that companies with more than 500 pubs and at least one tenanted/leased site will have to offer a market rent only option to tenants.

The clause also states that large pubcos that also brew beer will be able to insist on their brands being sold in their tenanted and leased pubs, but the tenant would be free to buy them from anywhere.

Now Lib Dem Mulholland – who tabled the amendment ahead of last week’s Common vote – has written to the chief executives of Greene King, Marston’s and Heineken UK, offering to meet with them to discuss the issue further.

Mulholland said it would be "very odd" if the three companies declined his offer as it is "clearly in their interests to do so".


The letter, seen by the PMA​, states:

“The Tied Market Rent Only (TMRO) would give the same rights and process in terms of triggering the independent rent assessment process and with the same right to pay the market rent only figure to the brewing pub owning company, but with TMRO in the code, the tenant would still have to sell the brewing pub owning company’s beer brands, but could buy them from any source, to prevent the ability to charge any wet rent.

“So please be clear: very deliberately – and to put paid to the nonsensical argument put forward by some ill-informed or complicit MPs – we included in Clause 42 the power for the Secretary of State to ensure that brewers will be able to carry on insisting on their beers being sold in their pubs, which gives them, unlike the giant property companies, every reason to now be sensible and work with me, Ministers and civil servants to make this reform work.

“So I am writing to you to make that offer. I would be very happy to work with you and the other large brewing companies, to seek to have TMRO provision included in the statutory code of practice.” 


Mulholland then goes on to invite the three companies to a meeting “assuming that you would welcome my continuing to push this point”.

The letter states: “If of course you do not wish to meet with me or you don’t respond, I will advise the Government that there is no interest from the large brewing pubcos to develop my TMRO concept and seek to find a way to ensure they can still insist in your own brands being available in these pubs and therefore not to worry about including such a provision in the statutory code. I would be very surprised it that were the case.

“So on the basis that it clearly is in your company’s interests to meet and discuss, I look forward to hearing from you either way.”


Mulholland also criticised Heineken UK boss David Forde for a recent article (originally published in the Daily Telegraph​) criticising MPs' decision to vote for the MRO clause, and arguing it would lead to more pub closures.

"David Forde has embarrassed himself and his company with the hysterical nonsense he wrote in the Telegraph​.

"It is time he realised that the silly misrepresentations and misleading propaganda doesn’t work anymore and instead, shows some leadership and agrees to sit down and show that Star Pubs and Bars [owned by Heineken UK] have nothing to be afraid of from having to offer independent rent assessments to their tenants," Mulholland said.

"If their tied deals are as good as he tells the media they are, then his tenants will stick with them. So it is time for him and others to prove it."

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