On 23 March 2021, the Scottish Parliament passed the Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill. The Tied Pubs Bill was brought forward by Neil Bibby MSP and the Government agreed to support the Bill during its passage through Parliament, subject to amendments. The Bill became an Act on 5 May 2021. The Act is intended to rebalance the relationship between tied pub tenants and landlords through the establishment of a Scottish Pubs Code and a Scottish Pubs Code Adjudicator who will oversee and enforce the code.
During the Bill's passage, my predecessor, Jamie Hepburn MSP, met with stakeholders representing and working in the sector, to inform the Scottish Government's approach to the legislation. I have continued this approach and have been engaging with businesses to arrive at these proposals on the Scottish Pubs Code.
I have taken on board the sector's need for early clarity on key aspects of the code, particularly Market Rent Only (MRO) leases and guest beer agreements. That is why we will be consulting in two parts. This first consultation will concentrate on the Scottish Government's proposals on MRO leases and guest beer agreements and the second consultation (expected in Spring 2022) will consider the rest of the code.
I recognise it is a challenging time for business, especially for a sector which has been so impacted by Covid-19. I want tenants and landlords to come out of the pandemic with successful and vibrant tied pub businesses, underpinned by a code which promotes fairness and equity, which is already at the heart of many tied pub businesses. By working together, through this written consultation, the Scottish Government's aspiration is that we can deliver a balanced, fair and workable code. Your engagement and your insight will be essential to make this work.
I welcome your views on these proposals for elements of the Scottish Pubs Code for tied pubs. Thanks to everyone who has already taken the time to speak with me or my officials.
Ivan McKee MSP
Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise