Tied pubs: draft Scottish Pubs Code - Part 1

Closed 17 Jan 2022

Opened 8 Nov 2021

Feedback updated 13 Apr 2022

We asked

We asked for your views on the draft Scottish Pubs Code for tied pubs, specifically on the Market Rent Only lease and guest beer agreement provisions.

We also asked for your views on impacts of the proposals and for comments on a partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment.

You said

We received a total of 34 responses to the public consultation, with 14 individuals and 20 organisations responding. 11 responses were from tied pub tenants and 6 responses were from pub-owning businesses.

Respondents generally had mixed views on the proposals. Tenants broadly welcomed the proposals around Market Rent Only (MRO) leases and guest beer agreements. However, pub-owning businesses had a number of concerns, especially on the unintended consequences of the proposals.

Respondents had mixed views on the proposal to exempt leases from MRO after investments for 5 years; tied pub tenants tended to disagree whilst pub-owning businesses agreed.

On guest beer, some participants felt that the focus in terms of eligible products should be on the type of brewery rather than on the production level of brands of beer.

On the partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) some pub-owning businesses expressed a number of concerns with the partial BRIA.

We did

Progressive Partnership was commissioned to undertake an independent analysis of responses. The report presents the findings from the public consultation and explains the methodology that was used to analyse responses.

Where permission to publish has been provided, the consultation responses are now available to view online.

The responses, together with the analysis report, and the second consultation, will inform and shape the final Scottish Pubs Code regulations which will be laid in the Scottish Parliament in Autumn 2022.

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


This consultation seeks your views on the Scottish Government's proposals on the Scottish Pubs Code for tied pubs. It covers proposals on Market Rent Only leases and guest beer agreements.

On 23 March 2021, the Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill (now an Act). This legislation provides for a Scottish Pubs Code to govern the relationship between pub companies and tied pub tenants and establishes a Scottish Pubs Code Adjudicator to oversee and enforce the code. The aim of the legislation is to ensure that there is a balanced relationship between the position of the business which owns the pub and the tenant.

The Act requires the Scottish Government to lay a Scottish Pubs Code before Parliament by 5 May 2023.

Our proposals on elements of the Scottish Pubs Code are set out in the below consultation paper:

Please read the consultation paper

Why your views matter

Proposals on the Scottish Pubs Code for tied pubs have been developed following workshops with sector representatives, tied pub tenants and pub-owning businesses. 

This consultation gives everyone who may be affected by the code, such as tied pub tenants, pub-owning businesses and brewers, an opportunity to comment on the first set of proposals. At Annex A it includes draft legislation on Market Rent Only leases and guest beer agreements, to give you an idea of how this might look.

Views from those impacted by the code, will be essential in making sure the code is fair, balanced and workable. The consultation will help the Government to refine its proposals on the code.

After all the responses to this consultation have been considered, Ministers will make a final decision on the proposals for Market Rent Only leases and guest beer agreements.  We will be consulting separately on wider aspects of the code and this second consultation is expected in spring 2022. 

Secondary legislation setting out the whole Scottish Pubs Code will be submitted to the Scottish Parliament for approval, expected in late 2022.

What happens next

This public consultation is part of a wider engagement exercise with stakeholders ahead of implementing the Tied Pubs (Scotland) Act 2021 and introducing the Scottish Pubs Code in late 2022. A further consultation on other aspects of the code is expected in spring 2022.

Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, and after we have checked that they contain no potentially defamatory material, responses will be made available to the public at http://consult.gov.scot. If you use the consultation hub to respond, you will receive a copy of your response via email.

Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help us. Responses will be published where we have been given permission to do so. An analysis report will also be made available.


  • Business, Industry and Innovation
  • Economy