A Scottish coalition of brewers and organisations has been joined by one of the UK’s most prominent voices against the failings of pubcos.
The Pub Advisory Service (PAS) has pledged to help the Scottish licensed industry fight against tied pubs, following their successful campaign in Westminster. With the sole aim of bringing the same legislative change to Scotland as afforded in England and Wales, PAS will share substantial evidence with Holyrood ministers over the coming weeks to further illustrate the negative impact of the tied model.
Support from the PAS comes hot-on-the-heels of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, who have also joined the coalition, citing concerns of the effect tied pubs have on Scotland’s tourism industry.
Together, the group’s call for action directly challenges the BBPA who, along with the pubcos, wish to see no immediate change in Scotland.
“The tied model is as broken in Scotland as it was in England and Wales,” said Paul Waterson of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA). “We’re not talking a handful of tenants – 1,000 Scottish businesses are affected by the tie. That’s 1,000 too many.
“And the feedback from those affected Scottish businesses is already extremely clear: 99% of tenants want protection against tied pubs; 74% of affected Scottish publicans feel worse off; 96% believe paying a reduced rent doesn’t merit the extra cost on tied products and services.
“The principle has already been established by Westminster – the tied model is unhealthy, uncompetitive and needs to be changed. What more needs to be proven?
“We must not allow delay. Scotland’s industry stands firmly together on this issue and we need decisive action fast.”
Dave Mountford of PAS, who is currently running a MRO (Market Rent Only) Advisory Service in England and Wales to help explain the new legislation to licensees, agrees:
“Given the wealth of evidence that already exists against tied pubs, it seems strange that some people in power still need convincing. In many ways, I would argue that the need for change in Scotland is greater than England and Wales, given the effects of the drink drive legislation.
“Our message to Holyrood is clear – listen to the industry, look at the facts and commit to change.”
Marc Crothall CEO of the Scottish Tourism Alliance also added: “All hospitality businesses in our country – without exception – should have the opportunity to purchase and sell Scottish products. We therefore support any action that removes barriers or restrictions to that happening.
“Pubs and licensed premises are an important part of Scotland’s hospitality and tourism offering – but many would now appear to be disadvantaged compared with their counterparts across the rest of the UK. We encourage the Scottish Government to commit to action on this issue in the near future and we look forward to positive progress being made.”