In October, the OFT rejected CAMRA’s super-complaint on the grounds that consumers benefit from a good deal of competition and choice in the pubs sector, although we submitted strong contrary evidence.
Our super-complaint centred on the need to reform beer tie arrangements to prevent large companies exploiting tie arrangements that prevent tied publicans from buying beer on the open market at fair prices. We highlighted that the total cost to consumers as a result of inadequate competition could be as high as £2.5 billion every year without even taking into account the restricted choice of beers and the closure of many valued community pubs. More widely, the complaint hoped to secure a fair deal for the pub-goer, and build a sustainable future for Britain’s pubs.
We’re currently using our own limited campaigning funds but need consumers to back the appeal via donation if it is to have the best chance of success. We’ve therefore launched the ‘Consumers v. OFT Pub Market Ruling’ Campaign Fund via a new website at www.camraappeal.org.uk
On submitting the appeal, Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive, urged consumers and trade bodies to get behind the Campaign Fund and support the appeal. Discussing the reversal of the OFT’s decision, he said:
‘We’ve seen the consumer watchdog scrutinised in previous years with the success of the
Association of Convenience Stores’ appeal in 2005 in overturning the OFT’s decision
at Tribunal level. Pending the success of our appeal, CAMRA remains optimistic of
Government intervention or a referral to the Competition Commission for a full
investigation into the UK pub market.’