Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill – Call for Views

By July 3, 2020NEWS

This is a call for views on the Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill. We want to hear from as many people as possible about the Bill, including pub tenants, landlords, pub-owning businesses and representative bodies. 

Please note that in most cases your written submissions will be published on our website and may be quoted in the Committee’s report or in Committee meetings (which are public and broadcast). 

If you would like to request that what you tell us is published without your name, please contact the Clerks at the following email address: economyenergyandfairwork@parliament.scot or by calling 0131 348 5403. 

We will consider all requests for information to be treated anonymously. 

Before sending us your views, please read our privacy notice about submitting your views to a Committee. This tells you how we process your personal data.

Tied Pubs Bill

We would like to hear your views on the Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill. This Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament by Neil Bibby MSP on 3 February 2020.

Background

The aim of the Bill is to improve the position of tied pub tenants by requiring the establishment of a Scottish Pubs Code (the Code) to govern the relationship between pub-owning businesses and their tied tenants and ensuring the appointment of a Scottish Pubs Code Adjudicator (SPCA) to apply the code.

A tied pub is one where there is a contract between the owner (pub-owning business) and the tenant, which means that the tenant has to buy certain products (mainly beer) from the owner at a higher than normal wholesale cost in exchange for rent of the pub (the rent is often set at a lower than market value).

The Policy Memorandum refers to Part 4 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (the 2015 Act) which introduced a statutory Pubs Code in England and Wales. This applies to pub-owning businesses that own more than 500 tied pubs. This Pubs Code is also governed by a Pub Codes Adjudicator.

There are currently around 750 tied pubs in Scotland.

A copy of the Bill, and its accompanying documents, are available on the Scottish Parliament’s website at: https://parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/114218.aspx

Committee’s call for evidence

We are keen to hear responses to the following, but you don’t have to respond to all questions:

  1. What are your views on the Bill overall? Do you think that legislation in this area is necessary?
  2. Do you think the Bill achieves its aim of improving the relationship between pub-owning businesses and their tenants?
  3. Could the Bill have any impact on investment in the pub sector in Scotland?
  4. Should the Scottish Pubs Code apply to all pub owning businesses and tenants in Scotland?
  5. Do you have any comments on the role of the Adjudicator?
  6. The Policy Memorandum states that the Bill aims to adapt the 2015 Act to Scottish circumstances and to avoid problems experienced in implementing the Act in England and Wales. Do you think the Bill meets these aims?
  7. The Bill proposes that tied tenants have the option to apply to their pub owning business for a quote for a ‘Market rent only’ (MRO) contract. Do you agree with this proposal and how do you think it would work in practice?
  8. The Bill proposes that tenants should have the right to stock at least one guest beer at any time, irrespective of the terms of their contract. What impact would this have?
  9. The Bill proposes that the office of Pub Code Adjudicator will be funded through a levy on pub-owning companies in scope of the code. The Financial Memorandum estimates that annual costs for pub-owning businesses will be around £6,000 to £86,700 depending on size. The Committee would welcome any views of these estimates (and the assumptions around the volume of work for the office of the Pub Code Adjudicator) and the funding model.
  10. Do you have any other comments on the Bill?

How to Submit your views

Your response does not need to cover all the areas specified and can focus on those that are relevant to you or your organisation. You are also welcome to provide other information that you feel would be relevant. Where possible, please use the template provided. Written responses should be sent electronically in Word format (not PDF) to the following address: economyenergyandfairwork@parliament.scot

There are a few situations where we may choose not to publish your evidence or may have to edit it before publication for practical or legal reasons, including data protection and defamation.

We encourage members of underrepresented groups to submit evidence. We also welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language.

If you wish to request that your submission be published without your name, please contact us (economyenergyandfairwork@parliament.scot or 0131 348 5403).

If you cannot submit electronically you may send in a hard copy written submission to:

Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee
Room T3.40
Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh EH99 1SP

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