The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is appealing to pub-goers to donate cash to its ongoing campaign to reform the beer tie.
The group made the call to contribute to its 'Consumers v. OFT Pub Market Ruling' Campaign Fund, after it issued a legal challenge to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in December last year via the Competition Appeals Tribunal.
The challenge came after the OFT rejected CAMRA's super-complaint in October. CAMRA warned that the beer tie forces publicans to pay 50p a pint more a day than they would pay on the open market and that these costs are then passed on to consumers through higher prices, poor pub facilities and the closure of seven pubs a day across the country.
Mike Benner, CAMRA chief executive, said: "We are today calling for pub goers to support CAMRA's campaign to secure a fair deal for consumers by donating to our campaign to ensure the beer tie works in a fair and competitive manner.
"CAMRA has found that a lack of competition in the UK pub market is costing consumers £2.5 billion a year, as well as harming the pub-going experience through reduced quality and choice. The lack of effective competition is also a key reason why seven pubs a day are closing, causing irreparable damage to local communities.
"Regrettably the OFT did not examine competition in local pub markets which is why we have taken the decision to appeal. The OFT's assertion that consumers benefit from a good deal of competition and choice in the pub sector is in our view not supported by the available evidence.
"CAMRA has pledged funds to the appeal process and is urging consumers to contribute to ensure our campaign stands the best chance of success. This is an historic opportunity for pub-goers to stand up to unfair conditions in the UK pub market and to assist the Office of Fair Trading in understanding the scale of harm to consumers."
A new website has been set up to receive donations at www.camraappeal.org.uk.
By Neil Gerrard
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