Government says it is too early to respond to complaints about pubcos
Wednesday 9th December 2009 07:00
The Government thinks it is still “too early” to respond to a report from MPs that called on it to address the power of the major pub companies, seven months after it was published.
The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (BISC) report, released in May, accused the major pubcos of “downright bullying” of their tenants and said the beer tie should be “severely restricted” by the Government.
But Kevin Brennan, minister for further education, skills, apprentices, and consumer affairs, has written to Peter Luff, chairman of the committee, to tell him the Government was adopting a wait and see approach.
“Many of the initiatives being taken forward including the revision of guidance and codes have yet to conclude,” he wrote. “I believe therefore that at this stage it is too early to take a decision on whether government needs to intervene."
Speaking at a follow-up evidence session, Luff said he took the letter to mean that the option of intervention “remains very much on the table”.
In October, the British Beer & Pub Association
launched a new code of practice for pubcos, launched after the collapse of mediation talks that were initiated following the BISC inquiry. The code calls on pubcos to: show transparency regarding beer prices; clarify their policy for setting rent; and establish levels of competence for business development managers. Beer tie row rumbles on >> New lobby group formed to push for reforms to beer tie system >> Pub groups meet to discuss beer-tie probe >>
By Neil Gerrard
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