FSB calls time on beer ties

The exterior of a pub The FSB wants to free landlords from tied trade

Business lobby group the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling time on the current relationship between pub companies and landlords.

Under the current rules, many landlords are obligated purchase to the products of one brewery, restricting the range of beers they can sell. The FSB wants to see the removal of these ‘beer ties', saying that they are impacting negatively on the organisation's members.

According to the FSB, 94% of their members operating in the pub trade said in a survey that exclusive purchasing obligations between pub companies and landlords should be scrapped while 99% said little has improved since the situation was last reviewed in 2004.

Colin Stratton, FSB Regional Chairman for the North East of England, said: "27 pubs are closing down weekly and FSB members give testimony upon testimony how difficult it is to survive in the pub business today. Pub landlords often pay up to double the price for beer and cider, than they would if they were buying in a free market. If the ties were eradicated this would create a level playing field to enable pub landlords to compete with those who are not tied.

"Pubs have been hit especially hard with rising energy costs and less money in the consumers pockets and landlord's problems are not going to go away unless an entire review of the system takes place.

"Despite this, generally small businesses within our membership are booming and moving forward all the time due to clever contingency plans and creativity within the SME market. FSB membership is up and rising all the time and this is testament to the ability of the many entrepreneurs within our North East region."

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