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MPs demand overhaul of pubco power

Added: Friday, January 13th 2012

Members of Parliament unanimously carried a motion on Thursday 11 January that criticised the government's lack of action on national pub companies. MPs also attacked the government for rejecting proposals by the parliamentary Business Select Committee to give greater freedom to pub lessees to buy beer free of the tie. The members demanded an independent review of self-regulation in the pub industry.

Five thousand members of the Campaign for Real Ale contacted their MPs before the debate, asking them to support the motion. CAMRA's chief executive Mike Benner said after the debate: "I'm delighted that MPs from all parties have highlighted the inadequacy of the government's attempts to tackle unfair business practices in the pub sector. The large pub companies must be encouraged to provide lessees with free-of-tie and guest beer options."

The successful motion said: "That this house believes that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills' proposals for reform of the pub industry fall short of the undertakings given to the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee in July 2010 and that only a statutory code of practice which includes a free-of-the-tie option with an open market rent review and an independent adjudicator will resolve the contractual problems between the pub companies and their lessees, and calls on the government to commission a review of self-regulation of the pub industry in the autumn of 2012 to be conducted by an independent body approved by the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee."

The majority of Britain's pubs are owned by three national companies, Punch Taverns, Enterprise Inns and Mitchells & Butlers. The govenment had proposed that the British Beer and Pub Association, which is funded by brewers and pub companies, should be put in charge of self-regulation of the pub industry.