Government agrees with my call for minimum alcohol pricing
The government has agreed to publish a consultation on the minimum unit price for alcohol. In response to a survey of York pubs and clubs that I conducted earlier this year, the Treasury Minister, Chloë Smith wrote to me to say that the government would publish the consultation later this year.
This week I wrote to all the pubs and clubs in my constituency urging them to take part in the consultation. Most of the licensees believed the biggest contributory factor for a fall in profits was cheap supermarket prices and an overwhelming 93% of licensees did not want supermarkets to be able to sell alcohol at reduced rates. I wrote to the Chancellor to say that any minimum price should reflect the views of licensees.
I also raised the issue about the unfair relationship between pub companies and landlords. Despite over 60% of the licensees reporting pub companies ignored the self-regulating guidelines and the relationship remained unfair and was damaging to the pub industry, the government have refused to consider bringing in a statutory code to guide and regulate the relationship.
I am pleased the government has agreed to listen to licensees about what would be a fair minimum retail price for alcohol. Pubs and clubs are in real difficulty because they cannot compete with supermarkets who sell beer and wine cheap and sometimes below cost.
I am very disappointed that the government do not want to bring in a statutory code to regulate how pub companies treat their tenant landlords. Pub companies have a monopoly. They force landlords to buy everything from them, not just beer, but wine, crisps, nuts and can charge them more than supermarket prices. If a landlord makes a success of a pub – rather than congratulate him, the pub company often turns round and puts the rent up. It is an unfair relationship. Pub companies cannot be trusted to self regulate and the government should step in to end the abuse.