CAMRA Say Government Pub Licensing Reforms Don't Go Far Enough
The Government has announced "substantive" reforms aimed at boosting the country's pubs, including an end to unfair practices, but campaigners have criticised ministers for not going far enough.
The Business Department announced a strengthened industry code which it said would improve the relationship between pub companies and their licensees.
The code, in response to a report by a committee of MPs which strongly criticised the pub industry, will be legally binding.
The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) and union leaders representing licensee, accused the Government of failing to tackle the issue of "tied" pubs, under which licensees have to buy beer from large pub companies.
Mike Benner, chief executive of Camra, said: "The Government has been cavalier in rejecting the recommendations of the Business Select Committee and instead putting its faith in the ability of the very companies accused of malpractice to finally put their house in order.
"The lack of any formal public consultation on this package of measures is truly remarkable and suggests a failure of Government to listen to all interested parties including the consumer."
Consumer Minister Edward Davey said of the announcement: "This is good news for everyone to raise their glass to. It gives the industry more certainty, which is vital to the success of Britain's family brewers, and it gives pub-goers the knowledge that they are drinking a fairer pint down their local.
"The advantage of this self-regulatory approach is that it will deliver these reforms much more quickly than could be done through legislation. I would like to thank the committee for its focused scrutiny on this issue, which has been essential in driving through necessary improvements. I am confident that the industry will lose no time in fulfilling the commitments it has made."
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: "Today's announcement is a further sign of our commitment to work with our members and industry representatives to strengthen the self-regulatory framework and the health of the sector as a whole.
"We look forward to working with industry partners to improve the advice, financial assistance and security offered to new and existing publicans so they can continue to invest, grow and create jobs."