Developments since the
Committee's Report |
1. We published Pub Companies, our Seventh
Report of the current session,
on 13 May 2009. Normally, we would expect to receive a Government
Response before the House rose for the summer adjournment. However,
there have been significant developments since we reported. It
appears likely that CAMRA will launch a super-complaint to the
OFT, and the ALMR is
working with an industry group to negotiate changes in the industry.
An early Government Response would not be able to consider the
outcome of these developments, and the Government might be constrained
in what it said because of the reality or even the likelihood
of a super-complaint.
2. We are also aware that the industry has appeared
to accept the need to change in the past, and has failed to do
so. We have no intention of "letting the industry off the
hook"; we believe that a premature response might do this.
We have accordingly written to the Minister for Further Education,
Skills, Apprenticeships and Consumer Affairs proposing that the
Government delays its response until after the summer adjournment.
That letter is appended to this Report.
3. We also take this opportunity to clarify one
of our earlier conclusions. Paragraph 190 of the Report says:
Since the OFT is unwilling to initiate an appropriate
investigation, we recommend that the Secretary of State uses powers
set out in section 159 of the Enterprise Act 2002 to refer supply
ties in the public house industry to the Competition Commission
for a market investigation. ...
We stand by the spirit of that conclusion, but it
simplifies the legal position and unfortunately cites the wrong
section of the Act. It would have been better expressed as:
We recommend that the OFT be invited to make a reference
to the Competition Commission to investigate the adverse impact
of supply ties in the public house industry. If the OFT is unwilling
to initiate such an investigation, we recommend that the Secretary
of State uses the powers set out in section 132 of the Enterprise
Act 2002 to refer supply ties in the public house industry to
the Competition Commission for a market investigation...
4. We recognise that it may take some months
for the industry to reach consensus on proposals for change or
for any super-complaint to be considered, and there have been
suggestions that we should request a six month delay. We do not
think it is appropriate at this stage to set such a timetable.
We are keeping developments in the industry under review, and
will consider the matter again in October.
1 HC 26-I Back
Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers Back