Thanks to all of you who emailed me about the control that large breweries can exercise over pubs, and asking me to support landlords being able to buy their beer on the open market.
On 18th November we debated an amendment (New Clause 2) to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill which would give licensees this freedom – ie the option to go free of tie so that they can buy their beers on the open market whenever they negotiate a new contract.
I voted for the amendment and I am delighted to say that it was carried by 284 votes to 269. This defeat for the Government was a great result and the right decision for pubs and their customers.
I would like to thank all of you for your support, because there is no doubt that the coalition of groups including the Federation of Small Businesses, the Forum of Private Business, the GMB and UNITE trade unions, lots of people who wrote to their own MPs, landlords and, of course, CAMRA made all the difference. Passing this amendment to the Bill will ensure that large pub companies offer fair terms to their licensees in future and I hope it will do something about the scandal of so many valued community pubs shutting.
It also shows the importance of Parliament. As MPs, we listened to a good case and we supported it!