Spirit Pubs boss latest to wade into row over Cable’s regulator

THE BOSS of Spirit Pubs, one of Britain’s biggest landlords, has joined the attack on Vince Cable’s plan for a new industry regulator.

Speaking to City A.M., Mike Tye said that if the business secretary’s proposals go through, the government “will have gone back on every pledge they have made to reduce red tape, and we’ll foot the bill”.

His comments are the latest affront to Cable’s plans to set up a new body to apply a statutory code, which is intended to tackle the so-called beer tie. A tied pub is one in which pub tenants sign up to a deal with a landlord such as Spirit that sees them pay reduced rent in exchange for them also buying beer from the pub owner.

Since the plans were announced earlier this week, pub companies including Punch Taverns and Greene King have railed against them, and Tye added Spirit’s name to the list yesterday.

“I think Vince Cable is being overly influenced by a minority of quite vocal people that he’s given mileage to,” Tye said.

He added: “Vince’s team are only seeing one side of the argument and he’s not really listening in order to understand what the industry is doing”.

Cable launched a consultation on the controversial plans on Monday, saying they would save tenants £100m per year.

Spirit, which owns around 500 leased pubs and 800 it manages itself, yesterday said it had defied an unusually cold weather over the last six months to post a three per cent rise in profits to £20m.