Beer tie row: Tory rebels hit back as pub fight gets fierce

 
Kate McCann
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Landlords and members of the public demonstrate outside Parliament for the Bill
A group of Conservative MPs hit back last night after pub companies warned a new Bill would threaten their business model and put people out of business.

The MPs, who all voted against their own party in favour of abolishing the tie-in between pub companies and landlords, claimed the decision as a victory for pub owners and consumers in the face of unfair and often ines­ca­pable contacts with pub companies.

The contracts mean landlords are bound to buy beer from just one supplier, of­ten in return for subsidised rent on their pub.

A number of big pub companies have seen their share price slide following the government’s defeat on an amendment in the small business bill.

The Bill now passes to the House of Lords where government sources confirmed they would not seek to overturn it, meaning the draft legislation will become law.

David Nuttall MP, one of 17 Tories to oppose the government on pub ties, said the large pub companies had been operating under an unfair system to their own advantage. “I wanted to stand up for the little guy, the landlord, and for consumers,” Nuttall said, adding: “Pubcos have been very vocal in their criticism of this decision, but if the deals they offer are as good as they say, then landlords will choose to stay with them and not leave.”

Anne Main MP said the changes would give landlords more freedom to negotiate better deals for their business. “This important change in legislation will ensure a viable and sus­t­ainable future for the Great British pub. It will hopefully allow the lic­en­sees to buy beer on the open market for cheaper rates than being tied to a pub company.”

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