I am delighted that my Members’ Bill on Tied Pubs became law today.  I want to thank the Co-operative Party and all the co-operators who supported this bill.  This is an important piece of legislation which will give more choice to consumers which I know is very important to fellow co-operators.


The Tied Pubs Bill delivers a fairer deal for tied publicans, with a new statutory Pubs Code. It will rebalance tied agreements, shifting power from the large pubcos to the local pubs who desperately need help. It allows tenants to opt-out of tied deals that are not working. It will give publicans more choice over the drinks they stock to help meet consumer demand, promote Scottish products, and sustain their business. The Tied Pubs Bill will also be very positive for Scotland’s small brewers, who at the moment are restricted from access to pubs owned by the big brewers and pubcos operating the tie.


The fact that global brewers and pubcos were so desperate to stop this Bill exposes the fact that they take too much from pub profits. The reality is that the Market Rent Only option is just that, an option and if they want to keep publicans tied, they need to offer much better deals, lower prices, and lower rents. That is all the Bill calls for – fairness and a fair split of pub profits. In England, pubcos have continued to invest in pubs, despite the Pubs Code and if they want to continue to own and operate pubs, they will do the same in Scotland.


This Bill showed the difference that Co-operative Party MSPs can make whether in power or out of power I am proud to have made a co-operative difference.  Other Co-operative Party members have made a difference in this term of parliament with among others James Kelly repealing the football act, David Stewart getting government action on fire safety, Daniel Johnson ensuring that retail workers have greater protection and Monica Lennon putting through world-leading legislation on period poverty.  I know that in the next parliament Rhoda Grant hopes to bring forward legislation to enshrine the right to food in Scots Law.  This is the difference that Co-operative Party members make in the Scottish Parliament.