Letter to the Minister for Further Education,
Skills, Apprenticeships and Consumer Affairs |
I am writing about the Government Response to the
Committee's recent report on pub companies. Normally, we would
expect a reply within two months of publication. However, in
this case the Committee proposes that the reply should be delayed,
at least until October, when we can assess the situation again.
We understand that CAMRA is likely to launch a super
complaint with the Office of Fair Trading. We are also aware
that there are industry efforts to reform the relationship between
lessees and pub companies. We would prefer to wait and see what
progress is made on these developments rather than have an early
and necessarily incomplete reply.
I must also take the opportunity to clarify one of
our conclusions. In paragraph 190 we said "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...
We trust you will take this to into account in the
I would also welcome the opportunity to meet you
to discuss our report before the summer adjournment.
Peter Luff MP
Chairman of the Committee
23 June 2009