Pubs call for ‘level playing field’ from Sky TV

Hospitality Ulster CEO Colin Neill
Hospitality Ulster CEO Colin Neill

Industry group Hospitality Ulster is calling for a full investigation by Westminster’s Northern Ireland Affairs Committee over what is says is Sky TV’s unfair pricing practices for pubs in Northern Ireland.

The group claims the company is operating an unfair regime which puts pubs here at a disadvantage from their counterparts in the rest of the UK.

“This policy excludes NI pubs from discounts of up to 30 percent that their counterparts in the rest of the UK can avail of,” said Hospitality Ulster chief executive Colin Neill in London to meet a delegation of Northern Ireland MPs.

“It is outrageous that pubs in Northern Ireland are treated differently than their counterparts in GB, with Sky TV operating two pricing policies.

“In the rest of the UK pubs are offered discounts of up to 30 percent if they are based outside centres of population and also if they sell food.

“It is totally unacceptable for Sky TV to price NI differently and they need to come clean with a transparent pricing policy for all parts of the UK”

MP for East Antrim, Sammy Wilson, said it is unacceptable that Sky can treat one region of the UK differently from another.

“We need a level playing field from Sky. Northern Ireland is as much part of the UK as England, Scotland or Wales, so it makes no sense whatsoever that it should be treated any differently.

“The Murdock bid to take over Sky TV is already under investigation by Westminster and I intend to make sure their NI pricing policy is also investigated.

“The hospitality sector is a very important part of the Northern Ireland economy and continues to grow, sustaining more than 60,000 jobs’

“This is a situation that can’t be allowed to continue.’