Deathwatch: MPs to kill off 'beer-tie' for pubs?
There's a lot of rules and regulations around pubs that many see as damaging to our noble boozers. One of them is the 'beer-tie', which means that tied leaseholders are legally obliged to buy their beer at whatever price their landlords choose.
The OFT said that 'beer-ties' were 'working well' for customers, despite the fact a lot of pubs have closed down because of it, which isn't great for those who like a snifter down their local at all. This ruling has mainly hit pubs in less affluent areas the hardest, where they've been priced out of the market by landlords and of course, supermarkets.
Tied-landlords are shutting down pubs and the people that own them are flogging them as little more than property. It is enough to drive you to drink, if you had somewhere to drink that is.
However, MPs are pushing for an amendment to the proposed Pubs Code, where they hope to axe the 'beer-tie'.
Greg Mulholland, LibDem MP for Leeds North West and chair of Parliament’s Save the Pub Group, is pushing an amendment to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill which proposes that landlords should be offered a 'market rent only' option, which in plain English, means that they'll have no obligation to buy beer from the group that owns their pub. That means a better variety of booze and, with more competition, better prices on the pumps.
If you've ever wondered why, for example, your local hasn't ever served Doom Bar or Timothy Taylors, even though everyone wants to sup it, chances are, the person who runs your pub isn't allowed.
Federation of Small Businesses chairman John Allan said: "Pub company tenants aren't getting a fair deal and this will continue unless they have the option to go free of tie."
There's some opposition to this proposal, but these people are clearly not concerned about communities having proper boozers, rather than priced-up gastrononsense.
Will this be the end of the 'beer-tie' or are the breweries too powerful to budge?