Over 90% of people call on Scottish pub reform, according to new report

Following a recent consultation into the tied pub sector in Scotland, over 90 per cent of respondents called for Scottish licensees to have the same level of protection as their counterparts in England and Wales.

Published 9th Jan 2018
Updated 20 th Sep 2023

Licensees in Scotland are currently exempt from regulations that are in place across the rest of the UK which stop large pub companies from taking more than is fair or sustainable from pub profits by forcing licensees to buy their beer from them rather than on the open market.

Now, Scotland’s licensees are overwhelmingly calling for a series of reforms which would enable them to stock a wider range of beers and ensure that they have a stronger governance in place to manage their relationship with these large pub companies.

In response, Labour MSP Neil Bibby has introduced a Bill to the Scottish Parliament which would create a Statutory Pubs Code and introduce a Guest Beer Option, which would allow licensees to stock a wider range of beers.

Sarah Bellis, CAMRA director for Scotland says: “CAMRA welcomes the consultation results which show that an overwhelming 93 per cent of respondents agree with CAMRA that change is needed to protect Scottish licensees tied to the large pub companies.

“Many pubs in Scotland are struggling because pub companies take more than is fair or sustainable from tied licensees’ profits. Licensees are further hit by paying above market value for rents and consequently struggling to make a living, contributing to pub closures across Scotland.

“We therefore fully support Neil Bibby’s Pubs Code Bill, which calls for a powerful pubs code to govern the relationship between pub companies and their tenants to ensure licensees are treated fairly.”

Neil Bibby MSP said: “This proposal is about fairness, choice and jobs. Fairness for tied pub tenants, choice for Scotland’s pub goers and jobs in the pub and brewing industries.

"My Bill would reset the relationship between tied licensees and their landlords, giving tied tenants in Scotland similar rights to those in England and Wales, and it would make it easier to bring locally-brewed products into the tied pub sector.

“Too often tied deals are one-sided and uncompetitive. With a broad coalition behind the Bill and backing from an overwhelming 93 per cent who responded, this consultation has demonstrated very clearly that the sector has to change.

“I have now formally lodged my proposal and I am asking MSPs of all parties to work with me to deliver a much-needed change in the law and a fairer deal for Scotland’s tied pubs and the brewing industry.”

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CAMRA is urging pub-goers across Scotland to contact their local MSP today to ask them to throw their support behind the Bill.

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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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