Huppert joins fight to save city pubs
January 12, 2012
MP Julian Huppert has joined a fight to save Cambridge’s pubs by giving landlords greater protection from tied tenancy agreements which push up prices.
Tied agreements means licensees have to buy beer from pub operators, which often leads to inflated prices and steep rents.
Julian is one of the proposers of a debate occurring in the House of Commons today (Thursday, January 12) calling for landlords to be free of tied tenancy and for an open market rent review.
He also wants an independent adjudicator appointed to resolve contractual problems between pub companies and their tenants.
The motion calls the Government to commission a review of self-regulation of the pub industry by an independent body this autumn and to agree a statutory code of practice for the pub trade, if this is needed.
In the last eight years Cambridge has lost around a fifth of its pubs including the Penny Ferry in Chesterton, which had operated since the 1850s, and The Jubilee in Romsey. Both have been sold off for housing.
Julian said: “The government has taken some steps, such as making the code of practice legally binding and enforceable through the civil courts, but it needs to go further.
“If we don’t act to make trading fairer for publicans tied into tenancy agreements, we will see more and more pubs going to the wall, as landlords – and their customers – are abused by predatory PubCos.
“In Cambridge and across the country as a whole, these publicans are struggling because they have to pay excessive prices for beer and they have no choice but to pass those inflated prices onto their customers. At the same time rents are going up and up with insufficient regulation.
“Our pubs are a crucial part of the very fabric of our society. Not only are they a vital community resource, but many of the buildings are an integral part of our history; once lost they are gone forever.
“I hope this motion will be passed by the Commons today so that we can offer real protection to landlords struggling to stay in business.”