Vote will help ensure pubs get a better deal

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BUSINESS supporters have welcomed a vote in parliament this week that ensures pubs run by large companies will get a fairer deal.

An amendment to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill allowing pubs to enter a ‘rent-only’ agreement with their owners was approved by 284 votes to 269 by members of all parties in the Commons on Tuesday.

As reported, the move will allow pubs to buy beer on the open market and not be restricted to a list set by a big firm - a more expensive route.

John Allan, chairman of The Federation of Small Businesses, said: ‘This has been a major campaign for the FSB and the vote is a big win for us.

‘It is a historic day for tied publicans who look forward to a more open and competitive marketplace.

‘The freedom to stock a wider range of beers will provide a boost to local economies while giving consumers greater choice.’

The amendment, put forward by Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland, pictured, said it would be phased in over five years. The overall bill seeks to improve relations between pubs and their operators and it’s anticipated a new code of conduct will be created to help this happen.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Portsmouth’s Lib Dem group leader, said: ‘It is so important that money spent in Portsmouth’s pubs go to the local people who own them and not else-where.’

Business minister Jo Swinson wanted big companies to first come under the pubs code before bringing in the rent-only deal so landlords could try and negotiate better rent terms.