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Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill


The Bill requires the introduction of a Scottish Pubs Code. This will set out rules and procedures to govern the relationship between all pub owning businesses and their tied tenants. A tied tenant is someone who leases a pub from a pub-owning business and is required to buy their beer and sometime other products too from that business. In return they may pay a lower than usual rent and receive other support from the pub-owning business.

The Bill also requires a Scottish Pubs Code Adjudicator (SPCA) to be appointed to apply the code.

The Bill will ensure that tied tenants have the option to request a “market-rent-only” (MRO) lease. This means that a tenant can pay the going market rate to rent the pub without having to buy products or services from the pub-owning business, therefore ending the tied relationship. Even if a tenant remains tied, the Bill provides an opportunity to sell guest beers. They will not be restricted to only selling the brand of the pub-owning business.
The Scottish Pubs Code, and decisions made by the SPCA, must be consistent with the following three principles:

  • that there is fair and lawful dealing by pub-owning businesses in relation to their tied pub tenants
  • that tied pub tenants should not be worse off than they would be if they were not subject to any product or service tie
  • that the tied agreements offer a fair share of risk and reward to both parties

You can find out more in the Explanatory Notes document that explains the Bill.

Why the Bill was created

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 was passed by the UK Parliament. That Act ensures that some tied pub tenants in England and Wales are covered by a statutory Pubs Code. The code is governed by a Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA). That Act applies to those who have tenancies with pub-owning businesses that own 500 or more tied pubs. 

The Bill aims to ensure that Scottish tied pub tenants have at least the same protections and opportunities as those covered by the 2015 Act in England and Wales. The Bill also aims to:

  • adapt the model provided by the 2015 Act to make it fit and appropriate for Scottish circumstances
  • avoid problems experienced in implementing the 2015 Act in England and Wales

You can find out more in the Policy Memorandum document that explains the Bill.

Where do laws come from?

The Scottish Parliament can make decisions about many things like:

  • agriculture and fisheries
  • education and training
  • environment
  • health and social services
  • housing
  • justice and policing
  • local government
  • some aspects of tax and social security

These are 'devolved matters'.

Laws that are decided by the Scottish Parliament come from:


The Member in charge of the Bill, Neil Bibby MSP sends the Bill and the related documents to the Parliament. 

Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill as introduced

Related information on the Bill

Opinions on whether the Parliament has the power to make the law (Statements on Legislative Competence)

Information on the powers the Bill gives the Scottish Government and others (Delegated Powers Memorandum)

Additional member in charge

An additional member in charge is another member designated by the member in charge. Designation of another member as member in charge can be made at any time, but is normally made at the time of introduction. It gives the member who introduced the Bill an assurance that any necessary procedural steps can still be taken if they are unavailable for a period or on a particular occasion. Daniel Johnson, MSP is the additional member in charge for the Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill. 

Scottish Parliament research on the Bill 

Stage 1 - General principles

Committees examine the Bill. Then MSPs vote on whether it should continue to Stage 2.

Have your say

Submit your views on this Bill to the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee. 

Have your say 

Submit your views on this Bill to the Finance and Constitution Committee.

Who examined the Bill

Each Bill is examined by a 'lead committee'. This is the committee that has the subject of the Bill in its remit.

It looks at everything to do with the Bill.

Other committees may look at certain parts of the Bill if it covers subjects they deal with.

What is secondary legislation?

Secondary legislation is sometimes called 'subordinate' or 'delegated' legislation. It can be used to:

  • bring a section or sections of a law that’s already been passed, into force
  • give details of how a law will be applied
  • make changes to the law without a new Act having to be passed

An Act is a Bill that’s been approved by Parliament and given Royal Assent (formally approved).

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