Tied Pubs Bill not supported by Committee at Stage One

13.11.2020

MSPs on Holyrood’s Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee have today published its Stage One report on the Tied Pubs Bill and have concluded that they do not support the general principles of the Bill.

The aim of the Tied Pubs Bill is to improve the position of tied pub tenants by requiring the establishment of a Scottish Pub Code to govern the relationship between pub-owning businesses and their tied tenants and ensuring the appointment of a Scottish Pubs Code Adjudicator to apply the code.

The Bill is due to be debated in the chamber in the coming weeks. While the Committee heard from tenants who supported the aims of the Bill, , with only 750 tied pubs in Scotland, the majority of the Committee saw little evidence to suggest widespread problems exist that warrant primary legislation.

Deputy Committee Convener, Willie Coffey MSP, said:

“Pubs play an integral role in Scotland’s economy and local communities. The existential challenges that they have faced over the last six months cannot be downplayed. It is therefore vital that tied pub arrangements are beneficial for both tenant and pub-owner, both now and in the future.

“While the Committee commend the intentions behind this Members Bill, a majority felt there was a lack of hard independent evidence which suggested that a widespread imbalance exists.

“The Committee believes that primary legislation is not needed and therefore do not agree to the general principles of the bill.

“However, a minority of the Committee did agree that there is an imbalance in the relationship between pub tenant and landlords and felt that the proposed legislation could be part of the solution.”

Background

The published bill can be found here

The Committee agreed the final recommendation by majority decision. For 6 (Colin Beattie, Willie Coffey, Maurice Golden, Alison Harris, Richard Lyle, John Mason), Against 2 (Rhoda Grant, Andy Wightman), Abstentions 1 (Gordon Lindhurst).

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