GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, welcome the vote by 284 to 259 ( majority 25) in Parliament on Tuesday, 18th November 2014 for a new Clause 2 in the Small Business Bill which puts a ‘market rent only’ (MRO) option for tied pub tenants on to the statute book. The Government is committed to introducing a statutory code of practice for the large pub companies in the Small Business Bill that reached the Report stage today in Parliament. That Bill will enshrine in law the long accepted but largely ignored principle: that the tied licensee should not be worse off than a free of tie licensee. This new clause introduces the market rent only option for tenants of the large pubcos, who own more than 500 pubs, with this applying only to companies that own 500 or more pubs, applying to their leased, tenanted and franchised pubs only.
A cross party new clause was tabled by Greg Mulholland, Chair of the Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, Adrian Bailey, Chair of the BIS Select Committee and Brian Binley, a member of the Select Committee and President of the Save the Pub Group with support from MPs across the house. The New Clause was supported by the national campaign for reform of the unfair pubco model, the Fair Deal for Your Local campaign coalition backed by 10 organisations.
Paul Kenny GMB General Secretary said “MPs have done the right thing and GMB welcome this. Government must accept this vote and move to properly implement it to save 25,000 tied pubs. MPs have voted for a clause that shows that the market rent only option is a simple, cheap to administer and market based solution that at certain trigger points would simply give licensees the choice as to whether to pay a fair rent only or stick with a tied agreement. This choice will force the large pub companies to ensure that their tied agreements – where tenants pay marked up prices for beer and other products and services - are competitive, fair and attractive to tenants.”