From Phil Liddell on the Mornnig Advertiser website with a response by El Nino Luminoso:
Just had a reply from my M.P. whom I asked to sign the EDM674 (early day motion),. He was unable to sign because he is Parliamentary Undersecretary, but he did forward my letter with regards the Beer Tie, Pub Cos., and demise of the British Pub to John Hutton Secretary of State for Trade and Consumer Affairs, part of BERR (Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform). John Hutton’s Under Secretary, Gareth Thomas M.P.’s reply (now THAT was complicated – no wonder they can’t make a simple decision), was not encouraging, and any reliance on Monopolies / OFT or Competition Commission, who would ultimately deal with any investigation and Legislation, would appear fruitless.
I quote (broadly)
‘OFT found in 2005, that 'the market for the supply of beer was found to be broadly competitive and in a process of development', and that it had been subject to extensive examination in recent years’.
He then went on to say that "the tied house system has long been recognised as having advantages for both brewer and licensees, with no detriment to customers".
There are NO advantages for the licensee - on the contrary, as we all know, it is wholly disadvantageous to the licensee in purchase prices and delivery restrictions. These costs have to be passed on to the customer, so there's a detrimental effect there, and the list of products, although ours is fairly extensive at present, could be reduced at any time, and no-one could protest.
Mr Thomas's reply shows a lack of understanding of the issues and must be questioned in detail. Ask him to provide evidence from the OFT enquiry that supports his claim
"the tied house system has long been recognised as having advantages for both brewer and licensees, with no detriment to customers"
This claim appears to be Mr Thomas's opinion and unsubstantiated. Incidentally Mr Thomas voted strongly in favour of the smoking ban.
Moreover I am not aware of any investigation by OFT in 2005. Is anyone else here? I may have been asleep during 2005 but perhaps monsieur Liddell is thinking of the Department of Trade and Industry Select Committee Hearings (DTISCH) which looked at the relationship between pubcos and lessees during 2004 and overran to early 2005... their findings were couched in a set of stringent recommendations for the way pubcos should conduct their business towards tenants and, in my view, have been comprehensively ignored by all.
As an aside, the links to the DTISCH parliamentary proceedings make fascinating reading - if you have time it is worth looking at these in detail. You will be outraged at what has not happened since - and equally surprised by Mr Thomas's reply to Phil Liddell.
Phil Liddell's start is good. If many publicans write to their MP (askin to sign the EDM but suggesting also that they ask the opinion of John Hutton Secretary of State for Trade and Consumer Affairs, Mr Thomas will get a trickle of questions that he has to respond to. He will at some point get the idea that a lot of publicans' experience do not match his assessment of the situation.