7 Conclusion |
157. Our Report has considered the proposals
put forward by the pub industry in response to our 2009 Report.
In general we welcome these developments as an example of positive
engagement by industry and a recognition, if belated, that it
needed to reform. However, this should in no way be interpreted
as giving the industry a clean bill of health.
158. The 2004 Report and the 2009 Report demonstrated
that proposals for reform mean nothing if they are not carried
through. The industry now appears to be willing to change and
we welcome that. However, past experience has taught us that this
is not enough; we have been here before. The
industry must be aware that this is its last opportunity for self-regulated
reform. If it cannot deliver this time, then government intervention
will be necessary. We do not advocate such intervention at this
stage, but remain committed to a resolution to all the problems
discussed in this Report and those of the 2004 and 2009 Reports.
Should those problems persist beyond June 2011, we will not hesitate
to recommend that legislation to provide statutory regulation
159. In summary, we stand by all of our conclusions
in the 2009 Report and still believe a reference to the Competition
Commission may yet be necessary to resolve these long-standing
issues. However, if all the initiatives prompted by our last Report
deliver fully on their promise, such draconian action may yet
be avoided. We urge our successor committee to indicate its willingness
to return to this issue in the new Parliament and to undertake
to keep the developments we have prompted under review.
160. We urge the Government
to monitor the success or otherwise of industry initiatives for
reform and to keep the possibility of a reference to the Competition
Commission firmly on the agenda. We also urge the Office of Fair
Trading to look more carefully at the issues involved as it responds
to CAMRA's super-complaint for the second time. The serious imbalance
in power between pub companies and lessees that has prompted this
Report and the two earlier ones must be a matter of deep concern
to policy makers who are working to ensure that markets work fairly
to the benefit of consumers.
161. The pub industry has been
found wanting now on two occasions by committees of the House
of Commons. If it fails to deliver on its promises by June 2011,
it should be in no doubt what the reaction will be.