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Pubco Reforms become law

 Pub Company reforms become law

Petition at Parliament

With the support of thousands of volunteers, CAMRA's campaign to secure a fair deal for tied pub tenants made history in November 2014 when 284 MPs voted to introduce a Market Rent Only Option as part of the Small Business Bill.

The vote was described by the media as the first Government defeat on one of its own Bills since the 2010 Election.

The new law introduces regulations to secure a fair deal for pub tenants and consumers in a move that could spell a new era for British pubs. The introduction of a "market rent only" option will allow publicans to buy their beer on the open market, keeping the price of a pint down. A new adjudicator will also provide publicans with an independent body to rule on disputes.

With an average of 29 pubs closing each week and licensees across the UK struggling to make a living, this historic change in law could not have come soon enough. This essential step will ensure licensees tied to large pub companies finally get a fair deal after years of non-effective self regulation.

CAMRA's Chief Executive Tim Page said: "CAMRA has been campaigning for pub company reform for over ten years. We are delighted to finally see our campaign come to fruition with changes to the tied system that will be welcomed by thousands of struggling licensees across the country.  This is great news for tenants and great news for pub goers who will benefit from wider beer choice, fairer prices and a thriving pub sector.

With the reform following hot on the heels of new planning laws to protect pubs and a historic third cut in beer tax, I for one will be raising my glass to the thousands of campaigners that have worked tirelessly to give one of Britain's most important industries the chance to continue on its road to recovery."

CAMRA's campaigns team would like to thank the thousands of CAMRA members who have helped deliver this huge success. Without your support, we never would have secured this vital change for tied tenants. 

 

Let's take a look over the last ten years of campaigning for this change:

December 2004 - The Trade and Industry Select Committee highlighted serious concerns regarding pubco conduct and called on the industry to introduce a voluntary Code of Practice. Industry failed

May 2009 - The Business Select Committee issued a damning verdict of the failure of the large pubcos to reform and called on Government to intervene

July 2009 – CAMRA used its status as a designated consumer body to submit a super-complaint to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT)

October 2009 – the OFT rejected CAMRA's super-complaint. CAMRA appealed this decision and succeeded in getting the OFT to reopen the investigation

March 2010 – CAMRA gave evidence to Business Select Committee for a follow up report which called for Government intervention if satisfactory reform had not been delivered by June 2011

October 2010 - The OFT again declined to take further action on CAMRA's complaint. No further legal appeal was issued given the Government's 2011 deadline

June 2011 - CAMRA gave evidence to the Business Select Committee's further inquiry, arguing that self-reform has failed and Government intervention is now necessary

November 2011 – CAMRA criticised Government deal with the British Beer and Pub Association which failed to address the key issues of rebalancing the relationship between struggling licensees and large pubcos

January 2012 – Thousands of CAMRA members lobbied MPs ahead of a Parliamentary debate where MPs unanimously passed a motion criticising the Government's lack of action on pub companies

January 2013 – Ahead of another crucial Parliamentary debate and under pressure from MPs and CAMRA, Government announced it would take action on pub company reform

April 2013 – Government consultation launched and as part of the Fair Deal for Your Local campaign, CAMRA coordinated a massive campaign including securing 7000 consultation responses and getting support of 212 MPs

June 2013 – CAMRA submitted consultation response including new evidence that 57% of pubco licensees earn under £10,000 a year

December 2013 - CAMRA criticised Government delay in action on pubco reform

January 2014 - CAMRA launches "Pub Scandal" pubco reform petition, ahead of Parliamentary debate demonstrating overwhelming support for action

May 2014 - Campaigners gather to present 44,000 strong pubco reform petition to Business Secretary Vince Cable

July 2014 - Campaign success! After 10 years of CAMRA campaigning, Government announced new Statutory Code and Adjudicator to deliver fair deal to tied licensees

October 2014 – CAMRA provided written and oral evidence to Small Business Bill Committee calling for a market rent only option to be included in the Bill

November 2014 – High profile campaign for Market Rent Only option amendment, including MP briefings, a rally outside Parliament and 8000 CAMRA campaigners lobbying their MP. The Government is defeated by 25 votes and Market Rent Only option added to the Bill!

December 2014 – CAMRA urges members of the House of Lords to accept the Bill as it stands and oppose any amendments that weaken the Bill or which introduce loopholes that could be exploited

February 2015 – The House of Lords accepts the Bill and it is passed back to the House of Commons for the final stage of the Bill

March 2015 – The Small Business Enterprise & Employment Bill gets Royal Assent and the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament