Pubcos could be forced to sever “beer tie”

21/09/2011

The pub industry has been rapped by MPs who claim that it is not doing enough to stop pubs from closing.

The Business Select Committee heaped special criticism on the large pub companies in its report published this week. It even goes as far as suggesting that since self-regulation has failed, statutory regulation must be introduced.

The government is unhappy about the “beer tie” system where landlords are forced to buy alcohol from one source and which it is claimed pushes the prices up for pubs.

The report said: “The purpose of this inquiry into pub companies was to assess whether or not the industry had delivered on its promise of meaningful reform.

“As with previous inquiries, modest improvements have been made. However, the fact that it has taken a number of select committee inquiries to prompt these improvements demonstrates the deep-seated problems which lie at the heart of the industry.

“While the new codes of practice are a step in the right direction, they only address a limited number of areas.

“In many areas we do not believe that there has been a genuine commitment to reform. Many of the potential benefits of the new code, which were identified by our predecessor committees, have been undermined by a process of implementation which can only be described as half-hearted.”

The BBPA rejected the committee’s findings but beer campaigners predicted that a new statutory code would mean lower prices and fewer pub closures.

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