MP stands up for local pubs

This week, Eastleigh MP Mike Thornton voted in favour of an amendment opposed by the Government, in a historic vote to loosen the control of big pub companies over small pub landlords.

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“A victory for local pubs in Eastleigh.”

This is how local MP Mike Thornton welcomed the historic vote in Parliament to loosen the control of big pub companies over small pub landlords.

On Tuesday 18 November, the Liberal Democrat MP Mike Thornton voted in favour of an amendment, opposed by the Government, to help deliver a fair deal for local pubs. Mike joined 28 Lib Dems and 15 Tories in supporting a “market rent only” amendment to the Small Business Bill, which will give pub landlords new rights over who they buy their beer from.

Mike said: “Small pubs have been squeezed for too long, often forced to pay above market rates for their beer.”

“Pubcos could have chosen to charge fair rents and prices but instead used their dominance in the market place to exploit hard working publicans. This hurt not only our local pubs but also pub goers as struggling publicans were forced to pass costs onto their customers.”

“I would like to congratulate my Lib Dem colleague Greg Mulholland and CAMRA for campaigning very hard and making this amendment happen. It is a victory for local pubs in Eastleigh and all over the country.”

“It was proud moment to stand up for the hard-working small businesses against large vested interests and to help keep pubs open.”

The Small Business Bill already includes plans for a Pubs Code and an Adjudicator to support pubs and their tenants. The amendment is designed to stop large pub companies forcing up beer prices charged to pub tenants to unacceptable levels.

It will allow pub tenants tied to the large pub companies (more than 500 pubs) to opt for a rental only deal, allowing them to buy beer on the open market at prices up to 70% below what pub companies currently force them to pay.

The amendment is also backed by the national Fair Deal for Your Local campaign which consists of ten leading national organisations, including CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale), the Federation of Small Businesses, the Forum for Private Business and licensee organisations.

Tim Page, CAMRA Chief Executive added:

“CAMRA is very pleased that Mike Thornton MP has added his name to an amendment, which calls for an important change to improve the relationship between pub-owning companies and their tenants. It is simply unacceptable that so many tenants running successful pubs are earning less than the minimum wage and are unable to invest in the future of their pub. Far too many pubs have been lost permanently as a result of the pub companies squeezing the life out of them with excessive rents and tied beer prices.”

“Allowing pub tenants to choose the best deal for them will put huge commercial pressure on the large pub companies to cut their beer prices to competitive levels. Such a move would benefit over 10,000 pubs, help pub tenants make a living, help keep pubs open and help keep the cost of a pint to consumers affordable.”

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