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Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill

Overview

The Bill will introduce a Scottish Pubs Code. This will set out rules and procedures to govern the relationship between all pub owning breweries and their tied tenants. A brewery or brewing company is a business that makes and sells beer. A tied tenant is someone who leases a pub. 

A Scottish Pubs Code Adjudicator (SPCA) will be appointed to apply the code

The Bill will ensure that tied tenants have the option to operate at “market-rent-only” (MRO). This means that a tenant can lease a premises without having to buy products or services from the pub-owning business. Even if a tenant does buy products, they will also be able to sell guest beers. They will not be restricted to only selling the brand of the pub-owning business. 

The Scottish Pubs Code must be applied consistently by the SPCA when making decisions. 

The three principles of the code are:

that there is fair and lawful dealing by pub-owning businesses in relation to their tied pub tenants
that tied pub tenants should not be worse off than they would be if they were not subject to any product or service tie
that the tied agreements offer a fair share of risk and reward to both parties 

You can find out more in the Explanatory Notes document that explains the bill.

Why the Bill was created

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 was passed by the UK Parliament. That Act ensures that some tied pub tenants in England and Wales are covered by a statutory Pubs Code. The code is governed by a Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA). That Act applies to those who have tenancies with pub-owning businesses that own 500 or more tied pubs. 

The Bill aims to ensure that Scottish tied pub tenants have the same protections and opportunities as in England and Wales. 

Tied tenants will have the ability to opt out of tied arrangements. Applying a code will make sure tenants pay a fair and reasonable market rent for their pub premises only. 

Tenants who take up this “market-rent-only” (MRO) option would be free to source and purchase any products. This will give them the flexibility they need to react to changes which affect their business in a competitive market.

You can find out more in the Policy Memorandum document that explains the bill.

The Bill at different stages

'Bills' are proposed laws. Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) discuss them to decide if they should become law.

Here are the different versions of the Bill:

The Bill as introduced

Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill as introduced

The Scottish Government sends the Bill and the related documents to the Scottish Parliament.

Bill is at ScottishParliament.SC.Feature.BillComponents.Models.BillStageModel?.DefaultBillStage?.Stage_Name stage.

Where do laws come from?

The Scottish Parliament can make decisions about many things like:

  • agriculture and fisheries
  • education and training
  • environment
  • health and social services
  • housing
  • justice and policing
  • local government
  • some aspects of tax and social security

These are 'devolved matters'.

Laws that are decided by the Scottish Parliament come from:

Government Bills

These are Bills that have been introduced by the Scottish Government. They are sometimes called 'Executive Bills'.

Most of the laws that the Scottish Parliament looks at are Government Bills.

Hybrid Bills

These Bills are suggested by the Scottish Government.

As well as having an impact on a general law, they could also have an impact on organisations' or the public's private interests.

The first Hybrid Bill was the Forth Crossing Bill.

Members' Bill

These are Bills suggested by MSPs. Every MSP can try to get 2 laws passed in the time between elections. This 5-year period is called a 'parliamentary session'.

To do this, they need other MSPs from different political parties to support their Bills.

Committee Bills

These are Bills suggested by a group of MSPs called a committee.

These are Public Bills because they will change general law.

Private Bills

These are Bills suggested by a person, group or company. They usually:

  • add to an existing law
  • change an existing law

A committee would be created to work on a Private Bill.

Bill stage timeline

The Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill is currently at Stage 1.

Introduced

The Scottish Government sends the Bill and related documents to the Parliament.

Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill as introduced

Related information from the Scottish Government on the Bill

Opinions on whether the Parliament has the power to make the law (Statements on Legislative Competence)

Information on the powers the Bill gives the Scottish Government and others (Delegated Powers Memorandum)