The amendments were unexpectedly passed by MPs to provide much-needed relief for tenants of tied public houses in November.
Around half of Britain’s 5,000 pubs are run by tenants under a ‘beer tie’, meaning they are forced to buy drinks, usually at much higher prices than the market rate, from the company holding the pub lease. The Island’s MP Andrew Turner backed the rebel amendments, which were passed by 284 votes to 269.
Amendments to the Bill provide for a Pubs Code to include a market-rent-only option for large pub-owning businesses owning 500 or more pubs. Tenants of pubs owned by the large businesses will in future have the right to a tenancy or lease in exchange for an independently assessed market rent and will be able to buy drinks from wherever they wish.
The Pubs Code will contain measures to ensure the Market-Rent-Only option is correctly administered and an Independent Adjudicator will have the final word in the case of any dispute.
The Island’s MP, Andrew Turner, said:
“In January of this year I gave my support to a Pub Campaign including many of the Island’s publicans and supported by CAMRA. Many publicans are struggling to run a sustainable business for a variety of reasons, but for the tenants of tied public houses there is the added problem of spiralling rental costs, and an inability to buy alcohol at favourable prices.
“I’m very pleased that these amendments were successfully voted through and that, at last, there will be a code of practice the tied tenants can rely on.”
Cllr John Nicholson, on behalf of CAMRA, commented:
“Isle of Wight CAMRA, pub users and beer lovers are pleased with the result in progress in this long standing campaign for fair rent and freedom for all pubs to buy beer at market prices and, I think I can speak for like-minded people, in saying that we are appreciative of the backing our MP, Andrew Turner, has shown in supporting the historic Parliamentary vote on its route to become law.
“This vote underpins the worth of pubs as community assets, and important contributors to the economy, as well as recognising the value of our Real Ale, as a particular and unique product of this country, that we should be proud of and rightly celebrate, as it is now being recognised and replicated all over the world, in the international Craft Beer revolution.”