As reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA), on 23 March members of Scottish Parliament passed The Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill heralding the creation of a statutory pubs code and an independent adjudicator role.
The Bill was originally put forward by Labour MSP Neil Bibby in an effort to ensure tenants in brewery-owned pubs are not bound to what are seen to be unfair deals and gives around 700 Scottish tied pubs similar rights to those in England and Wales.
Provisions set out will cover all the tied pubs in Scotland owned by Admiral Taverns, Greene King/Belhaven, Hawthorn, Trust Inns, Punch and Star Pubs and Bars.
However, while the Bill could take up to two years to move through its transition period, the Pub Governing Body Scotland has highlighted that its services will remain in place during this time.
The organisation – which comprises bodies including UK Hospitality, the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, the British Institute of Innkeeping and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association – is responsible for the improvement of landlord and tied tenant relationships in Scotland’s on-trade.
The Pub Governing Body Scotland enforces codes of practice setting the minimum standard for landlords to help enhance their business relationship with tenants and lessees, subject to a contractual purchasing obligation.
It strives to foster the highest standards in landlord-tenant partnerships services including the Pubs Independent Rent Review Scheme (PIRRS) and Pubs Independent Conciliation and Arbitration Service (PICAS) which offer an accessible, independent, low-cost rent review resolution infrastructure.
“It is vital that during the Bill’s transition period, that our services continue to provide the opportunity for both landlords and tenants to resolve any disagreements in a reasonable and appropriate manner,” Jo Graham, chair of the Pub Governing Body Scotland said.
“The Pub Governing Body Scotland, through PIRRS and PICAS, will continue to run throughout this period, helping both pub-owning groups and their tenants resolve any disputes.”
While the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Scotland’s director Joe Crawford hailed the passage of the Bill, Edith Monfries, Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) president and COO of Hawthorn, claimed she was “truly disappointed and utterly mystified” by the decision to present prospective legislation which she stated could change the fabric of Scotland’s pub landscape “forever”.