Scotland: Tied pub model working

Claire Dodd

Claire Dodd

07 December 2016

Scottish licensees operating under the tied-model in Scotland, are not being 'unfairly disadvantaged', according to a new report from the Scottish Government.

The study, titled Research on the Pub Sector in Scotland, was undertaken to see if similar legislation to that introduced in England and Wales was needed to govern the relationship between landlords and their tenants, who under the tied model often pay a much higher price for beer.

However, it concluded that 'the evidence collected did not suggest that any part of the pub sector in Scotland was unfairly disadvantaged in relation to another.'

It found: 'Overall, the evidence collected did not suggest that any part of the pub sector in Scotland was unfairly disadvantaged. Despite variations in beer prices or rent across pub types, these were not identified as areas of dispute. The main concern voiced was on maintenance and pub upkeep issues.'

The 'scoping study' involved 25 pub licensees across a range of different pub models including ten independent free-trade pubs, ten fully tied tenants, five partially tied outlets and five pub companies.

No managed businesses agreed to take part in the survey. The report also noted: '[There were] significant challenges in recruiting licensees and pub companies to participate in the research, created by an apparent unwillingness to engage on the subject at a detailed level.' It recommends a more detailed study to ensure the relationship between pub companies and tenants is further strengthened and clarified, 'should not be undertaken without a significantly increased level of interest and involvement from the wider industry'.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) said: 'Any changes in the way pubs operate needs to reflect the reality of the industry in Scotland. It is very different to that elsewhere, with just 17% of pubs operating under a beer tie, compared with 40% in the UK as a whole.

'In addition, there is already a system of self-regulation which safeguards tenants and ensures consumers continue to enjoy a great choice of beer in their local. There is no doubt that Scotland’s pubs need more support. I'm delighted to see this study prove that there is no appetite nor need for costly legislation in Scotland, thus safeguarding jobs and investment.'

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