Pub companies: follow-up - Business, Innovation and Skills Committee Contents

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 be introduced.

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.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2010
Prepared 4 March 2010