Scottish Pubs Code Consultation 2: analysis report

Analysis report of the responses received by the Scottish Government to the second consultation on a Scottish Pubs Code for tied pubs.



The Tied Pubs (Scotland) Act 2021 requires the Scottish Government to create a Scottish Pubs Code for tied pubs[1]. The Scottish Pubs Code will govern the relationship between tied pub tenants and their pub owning businesses. The Scottish Pubs Code will cover arrangements such as the process for tenants to request a Market Rent Only (MRO) lease (removing all service or product ties), circumstances where a MRO lease cannot be offered, guest beer agreements (where a tenant can select and stock one beer of its choosing), financial penalties for non-compliance with the code, and information requirements on pub-owning businesses. The Act also establishes a Scottish Pubs Code Adjudicator to apply and enforce the code, including arbitrating in disputes about non-compliance between tenant and the pub-owning business. The Scottish Pubs Code could include aspects from both the current voluntary code of practice in Scotland[2], and the English and Welsh code.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting with stakeholders to develop a Scottish Pubs Code for tied pubs. A written consultation has been issued in two parts, to provide the sector with early certainty on key aspects of the code. The first written consultation covered the Market Rent Only lease and guest beer agreement aspects. The second consultation ran from 17 March to 12 May 2022. It covered other aspects of the Scottish Pubs Code as follows:

  • Pre-entry requirements
  • Rent review process
  • Repairs and dilapidations
  • Flow monitoring devices
  • Gaming machines
  • Arbitration
  • Financial penalties for non-compliance

The purpose of this report is to present the findings from the second written consultation.


The consultation questionnaire was developed by the Scottish Government, reviewed by Progressive and hosted online on Citizen Space (See Appendix A). The consultation was live from 17 March to 12 May 2022. Responses received via Citizen Space were automatically collated into a database. A number of responses were received via email. These were manually entered into Citizen Space where possible. Responses were then downloaded by Progressive into an Excel database. This raw data file was used for analysis and creating data tables. Thirty responses were received.

Limitations of the findings

The online survey did not prompt respondents to answer each question before moving on to the next one. Whilst this allows the respondent to complete the survey as they wished, it also means that there are a proportion of 'not answered' responses for each question. The sample sizes for each question state how many respondents answered it. However, this is also an advantage as it enables respondents to respond on areas of interest and expertise, without being forced to respond on issues they have no interest/views on.

It should be borne in mind that this was a consultation, not a representative survey. Therefore the findings reflect the views of respondents, but cannot be extrapolated to those of any particular group, for example, tied pub tenants or pub owning businesses.

Please note also that due to the very small sample size, figures are presented as absolute numbers rather than percentages.

Consultation response and sample

Thirty responses were received in total. The table below shows the breakdown between responses from individuals and from organisations.

Table 1: Consultation responses








The breakdown of respondent types is detailed in the table below.

Table 2: Respondent type


Tied pub tenant – one tenancy


Tied pub tenant – number of tenancies unknown


Pub-owning business




Representative organisation


Other organisation




Not answered




Pub-owning businesses who responded were asked about the location of their tied pubs. All reported having pubs located in cities/towns, and most also in rural settings. Two reported having pubs in island locations. Please note that some pub-owning businesses indicated they had tied pubs in more than one type of location, therefore the responses in Table 3 below do not sum to the total number of pub-owning business respondents (six).

Table 3: Location of tied pubs

Pub-owning businesses (N)





Rural settings




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