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Tied Pubs - Scottish Pubs Code - part 1: consultation analysis

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


Introduction

Background

The Tied Pubs (Scotland) Act 2021 requires the Scottish Government to create a Scottish Pubs Code for tied pubs. The Scottish Pubs Code will govern the relationship between tied pub tenants and their pub owning companies. 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 voluntary code, and the English and Welsh code.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting to develop a Scottish Pubs Code for tied pubs. A written consultation is being issued in two parts, to provide the sector with early certainty on key aspects of the code. The first written consultation covers the Market Rent Only lease and guest beer agreement aspects. A second consultation is expected to run from 17 March to 12 May 2022. It will be intended to cover other aspects of the Scottish Pubs Code, and may include financial penalties for non-compliance with the code, other topics for inclusion in the code (such as rent assessments), terms excluded from arbitration, information requirements and other requirements on pub-owning businesses.

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

Method

The consultation questionnaire was developed by the Scottish Government and hosted online on Citizen Space (See Appendix A). The consultation was live from 8 November 2021 to 17 January 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-four 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 e.g. tied pub tenants or pub owning businesses. Three identical campaign responses were submitted.

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

Table 1: Consultation responses
N
Individuals 14
Organisations 20
Total 34

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

Table 2: Respondent type
N
Tied pub tenant – one tenancy 7
Tied pub tenant – multiple tenancies 4
Pub-owning business 6
Brewery 1
Representative organisation 8
Other organization 1
Consumer 2
Other 4
Not answered 1
Total 34

Tied pub tenants and pub-owning businesses were asked about their membership of trade associations and whether the pub-owning business is signed up to the voluntary code of practice.

Most respondents in these categories, especially pub-owning businesses, reported being a member of a trade organisation.

Table 3: Membership of trade organisation
Tied pub tenants (N) Pub-owning businesses (N)
Yes – member of a trade organisation 6 6
No – not a member 4 -
Not answered 1 1
Total 11 6

All the pub-owning businesses who responded reported being signed up to the voluntary code of practice. Most of the tied pub tenants also reported that their pub-owning business was signed up.

Table 4: Pub-owning business signed up to the voluntary code of practice
Tied pub tenants (N) Pub-owning businesses (N)
Yes 7 5
No 1 -
Don't know 2 -
Not answered 1 1
Total 11 6

Pub-owning businesses who responded were asked about the location of their tied pubs. Most reported having pubs located in cities/towns and rural settings. Please note that some pub-owning businesses indicated they had tied pubs in more than one type of location, therefore the responses in Table 5 below do not sum to the total number of pub-owning business respondents (six).

Table 5: Location of tied pubs
Pub-owning businesses (N)
Islands 1
Cities/towns 3
Rural settings 4
Not answered 1

Contact

Email: Tiedpubsconsultation@gov.scot

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