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Do we need fairer measures for East of Scotland tied pubs?


Scottish pubs showcase the very best food and drink the country has to offer: from trendy craft beer to world-beating whisky collections. 

But pubs are much more than kegs and crisps – they contribute £1.6bn per year to the Scottish economy and employ 60,000 people. 

Despite this, pubs are under pressure. Although they remain popular places for Scots to relax and socialise outside of the home, 1,326 pubs have closed since 2013 – with many estimating up to two pubs will close every week in the future. 

Business is especially tough for the 1,000 or so ‘tied’ pubs: these are pubs owned by a pub company or brewery and rented to individuals who are required to buy some or all of their products from that company/brewery. 

The tied model is designed to make it easier to start running a pub due to lower start-up costs and lower operating costs. But the reality can be different. Tied pub tenants often get a raw deal and pay over two thirds more for kegs of beer and earn an average of £13,000 less than non-tied licensees. 

These differences prompted the UK Government, in 2015, to introduce a statutory code and a new independent adjudicator for all businesses owning 500 or more tied pubs in England and Wales – efforts that were campaigned for, and backed by, FSB. 

And a new Bill has been proposed by Neil Bibby MSP to ensure tied pub tenants in Scotland have the same rights as their counterparts south of the border.

FSB will be throwing our weight behind the proposals, arguing for a fairer playing field for publicans that rent pubs from big pub companies. So, if you run a tied pub or work in the industry, we want to hear from you at

There’s now less than two weeks to get behind the campaign to ‘Save the Great Scottish Pub’. Make sure you set aside a couple of minutes to call for action to protect Scotland’s pubs in this short survey. 

Barry McCulloch is a Senior Policy Advisor for the FSB in Scotland

*Note: the statistics used in this report are from the proposed Bill.