Pub Companies - Business and Enterprise Committee Contents


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 eventual response.

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



 
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