Norwich landlady “ecstatic” at landmark pubs vote

Dawn Hopkins Picture: Denise Bradley

Dawn Hopkins Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant 2013

A Norwich landlady who has fought for a fair deal for pubs is 'ecstatic' after a landmark parliamentary vote which is set to allow tenants tied to large pub companies the option of buying beer on the open market.

The government was defeated by 284 votes to 269 with MPs from all parties voting in favour of a new clause to the Small Business Bill that will enable pubco licensees to choose between a tied agreement and a market rent only agreement that will allow them to buy beer on the open market.

Dawn Hopkins, landlady of the Rose pub on Queens Road, Norwich who had previously travelled to Downing Street to deliver a letter to prime minister David Cameron calling on help for pubs on behalf of Licensees Supporting Licensees, said yesterday's vote was 'brilliant' news for pubs.

She said: 'I'm absolutely ecstatic, absolutely chuffed. It's brilliant news for the pub industry. It shows the power if people get behind something, what they can do. Tied tenants don't have a lobbying group for them, it's been a group of people who have worked very hard and supporters of pubs like Camra and other people emailing their MPs to get this through.'

Liberal Democrat Greg Mulholland, Leeds North West MP who proposed the amendment, said his plans had been broadly backed in a consultation run by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).


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Mr Mulholland, who is chairman of the Save The Pub campaign, stressed the Government's proposals to let tied pubs move to a market rent model in two years would mean 'business as usual'.

Putting forward his amendment, the Lib Dem MP insisted that the plans do not meet the government's own key principles of fairness and tied landlords should be no worse off than those free of a tie.

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He pointed out that Punch Taverns, one of the main companies fighting the reforms, had told prospective investors that they would not adversely affect business.

Tim Page, Camra chief executive, said: 'Today's landmark Parliamentary vote helps secure the future of pubs. CAMRA is delighted that, after 10 years of our campaigning, MPs have today voted to introduce a market rent only option for licensees tied to the large pub companies - a move that will secure the future of the Great British Pub.'

He added: 'Allowing over 13,000 pub tenants tied to the large pub companies the option of buying beer on the open market at competitive prices will help keep pubs open and ensure the cost of a pint to consumers remains affordable.'

The Norwich Evening News has supported pubs through its Love Your Local campaign. To find out more log onto www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/campaigns/love-your-local

Have you got a story? Email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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