Members of Parliament have voted to allow British pub tenants to buy beer from any supplier they want, effectively ending the “beer tie” that has required landlords to buy beer from the companies that own their pubs.
The MPs voted 284-269 against the government and for a clause in the Small Business Bill that allows pub owners to buy beer on the open market. The amendment means no longer have to buy beer from their parent pub company and could seek a contract where they would only pay rent on the property.
The Campaign for Real Ale, whose members lobbied to end the tie, praised the vote. Tim Page, CAMRA Chief Executive said: “Today’s landmark Parliamentary vote helps secure the future of pubs. CAMRA is delighted that, after ten years of our campaigning, MPs have today voted to introduce a market rent only option for licensees tied to the large pub companies – a move that will secure the future of the Great British Pub.
“This simple choice should spell the end of pubco licensees being forced out of business through high rents and tied product prices. Thank you to the 8000 CAMRA members and campaigners who lobbied their local MP to help make this happen and to those MPs that voted to support pubs. CAMRA are now urging the Government to accept the outcome of the vote.”
The surprising results left the pub industry in upheavel. Before the vote, the British Beer & Pub Association warned if the rebellion succeeds, 1,400 pubs would close and 7,000 jobs would be lost. Brigid Simmonds, BBPA’s chief executive, said: “Without ‘the tie’ many much-loved British breweries, robbed of their existing market through their own pubs, would also have to close.”