Holyrood committee votes against pub laws bill

Monday, November 16, 2020

A draft bill on the Pub Code for Scotland, which its architects have admitted could lead to pub closures, was rejected by the MSPs on the Scottish Affairs, Energy and Fair Work Committee at Holyrood.

Parliamentarians on Holyrood's business, energy and fair work committee have voted overwhelmingly in favour of not supporting the general principles of the Tied pub bill aimed at strengthening the position of Scotland's 750 tenants in their relations with pub owners.

Deputy Chairman Willie Coffey said: "Pubs" part in Scotland's economy and local communities cannot be downplayed because the existential challenges faced in the past six months mean it is vital that pub arrangements that are tied up in place can be of benefit to both tenants and pub owners, both now and in Future.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) called the Holyrood committee's vote "baffling" and said it was effectively taking away from pub tenants in Scotland the rights enjoyed by the equivalent in England and Wales.

If removed from office it will not move forward.

"It really is baffling, especially when they are trying to strengthen the statutory requirements of the pub code." - Paul Waterson

Speaker Paul Waterson said it is really confusing, particularly when they are trying to strengthen regulations on pub services. Waterson said that Labour MSP Neil Bibby, the driving force behind the Bill in Scotland, was trying "to give Scottish pubs the same rights as they have in England" but he noted that his efforts at Holyrood Committee were "rejected by a coalition of the SNP and Tory party"