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Fair Deal for Your Local

Pump clip mulhollandFor many years, local pubs have struggled to achieve a thriving and prosperous business in the face of unfair contracts operated by large pub owning companies. Therefore, I have led an inspired campaign against the tied licence model that allows large companies to take far more than their fair share of profits from local pub licensees.

In April 2013, I formed the Fair Deal for Your Local campaign, bringing together ten leading national organisations in a successful effort to change the law. I am also chair of the Parliamentary Save the Pub Group.

Many local pub licensees struggled to earn minimum wage, despite having relatively large turnovers. I have taken the concerns of local licensees, microbrewers and pub-goes to Parliament in a bid to stop the overcharging of pub licensees. I proposed a new clause in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill that would allow pub landlords to have the option to pay market rent-only to large pub owning companies. This rate will be assessed independently and will not have tied obligations, thereby freeing publicans across the country from the stranglehold of pub company tied licenses.

On 18 November 2014 I succeeded in having my clause, known as New Clause 2, added to the Bill. I won against a whipped vote by 283 votes to 258. The historic change has become known as Mulholland's Law. One local brewer, Paul Briscoe, has demonstrated his delight in my work by commemorating the victory with a specially brewed beer aptly named Mulholland's Law.

The Fair Deal campaign has secured a sensational victory for the Great British pub. The new law will help to reverse the scandalous tenancy conditions that have plagued local pubs for years by helping to split profits more evenly between local and big business. The new arrangements were pushed through despite attempts by government Ministers to delay changes to the law, emphasising the volume of support which the campaign had gathered among the majority of MPs. News of the amended clause has been received positively by campaigners from all sides of the political spectrum, and has pleased those who support small business.

Following its success, my campaign has recently been shortlisted by PR week, a leading publication in the lobbying sector.

For me and many of my constituents, it is vitally important that Leeds, Yorkshire, and Britain can maintain its legacy of thriving local pubs.

blank"Pub vote result: Joy for Britain's struggling landlords." The Independent, 18 November 2014.

"The fact is that a defeat would not have been inflicted on the Government without Greg Mulholland's steely determination and commitment over a number of years." Public Affairs.

"Pub landlords tied to big breweries win 'historic victory in Commons Bill." The Telegraph, 18 November 2014.

Scrapping the Beer Duty Escalator

Alongside CAMRA and many others in the pub industry, I was also at the forefront of the campaign for the beer duty escalator to be scrapped.

In 2008 the beer duty escalator was introduced. It was an increase in tax on beer by 2% above the rate of inflation introduced in 2008 and was planned to be in place until 2014/15. Since the introduction of the duty escalator, tax on beer has increased by 42%.

The beer duty escalator proved damaging to brewers across the country and led to increases in beer prices for pub goers. Whilst these price increases were able to be absorbed by the supermarkets, pubs were unable to do this which led to further increases in the difference between a can in the supermarket and a pint in the pub. Figures were clearly showing that people were being put off by the price of beer in some pubs.

In 2012 I secured a Parliamentary debate on the issue on the back of the e-petition that got over 100,000 signatures. Additionally, I met with the Treasury Minister responsible, Sajid Javid, on a number of occasions to discuss the issue.

I and people all over the country were delighted that in March, following months of campaigning, the Chancellor George Osborne announced that the beer duty escalator would be scrapped and that there would be a 1p reduction in beer duty in the 2013 budget.

The issue of increased tax on beer is an extremely significant issue for the pub sector. Increases in tax on beer and the VAT rise are fuelling a shift in beer consumption away from pubs. Almost half of all beer is now sold in off licences and supermarket chains as beer drinkers seek to avoid tax rises. In just six years there has been a 30% collapse in the volume of beer sold in pubs as more than 7,000 pubs have closed forever. Beer supports over 1 million jobs; generates over £21 billion in taxes and is vital to the survival of pubs.

As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group I will continue to campaign to ensure that the Government does not reintroduce the beer duty escalator at future Budgets.