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The Parliamentary Save the Pub Group have secured a Parliamentary debate on the Pubs Code and Adjudicator on 14th April 2016.

 

Pubs need your help, they need your voice, they need people power! Justice for Licensees urges all who care about the Great British Pub to become involved and help, write and tweet your own MP, urging them to attend the debate, details for your MP can be found here http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp/  

 

Parliamentary Save the Pub Group secures Parliamentary debate on Pubs Code and Adjudicator

Greg Mulholland MP, Chair of the Parliamentary Save the Pub group, will be leading a Westminster Hall debate on the Pubs Code and Adjudicator on 14th April, from 1.30pm – 4.30pm.

Mulholland is now calling on all MPs to take part in the debate.

The debate will discuss the Pubs Code, which will regulate the relationship between large pub companies and their tied tenants, and the Pubs Adjudicator, who will enforce the Code.

The draft Code BIS published in the December contains loopholes which put tenants at a disadvantage, and undermines the all-important Market Rent Only option, which allows tenants to change their tied lease, where they are forced to buy certain products from the pubco, to a free of tie lease. While BIS have made some changes to the Code, it still does not abide by the will both Houses of Parliament, and does not fulfil the commitments made by Ministers who have spoken on the Code.

There are three key issues the Group intends to highlight at the debate. Firstly, one loophole in the Code forces tenants to surrender their current long lease for a shorter one, an unfair measure which discourages tenants from pursuing the market rent only option.

Secondly, the Code allows and a waiver on the market rent only option which can be offered before the tenant signs onto the pub. This would allow pubcos to lease the majority of their pubs on market rent only free leases, and actually incentivise pubcos to churn current tenants before they can choose the market rent only option.

Thirdly, pubcos are also already trying to game the Pubs Code, forcing tenants onto leases which do not have the Market Rent Only option, to avoid the impact of the Code. BIS specifically stated in an impact assessment that the Code would be “difficult to game”, and the Code must reflect this, reacting to the actions of pubcos and preventing pubcos from avoiding the Code.

The Pubs Adjudicator, whose selections was announced several weeks ago, has professional and financial ties to the large pub companies he is expected to regulate, which could impact on his actions as Adjudicator. This conflict of interest means he cannot be seen as impartial by pub tenants, resulting in him being ineligible for the job.

Mulholland has tabled two parliamentary motions on the issue, EDM 1323 criticising the loopholes in the Pubs Code and EDM 1269 criticising the selection of the Adjudicator.

Commenting, Greg Mulholland MP, Chair of the Parliamentary Save the Pub Group said:

“I’m pleased I was able to secure a Westminster Hall debate on the Pubs Code and Adjudicator, as this is the last chance MPs have to debate the Code before it comes into force.”

The draft Code BIS have published has fundamental flaws which undermine the all-important Market Rent Only option, and the Adjudicator BIS have appointed cannot be seen as impartial.

MPs must now pressure BIS to deliver the will of both Houses of Parliament, and create a strong Pubs Code which cannot be gamed, and appoint an adjudicator who is trusted by all sides of the pub sector to do the job, and the debate is the best chance for them to do this.”

Adrian Bailey MP said:

“Successive select committees in successive parliaments have made recommendations on the pub codes adjudicator. It is important for Parliament that the Government gets this right. I hope that all MPs who care about British pubs and the positive impact they have on our communities attend this debate. This is a chance for MPs to debate the flaws of the draft Pubs Code BIS have published, and to discuss the appointment of the Adjudicator, before the Code comes into force in May”

Simon Clarke, Fair Pint Campaign and Secretary of the British Pub Confederation said:

This debate is MPs opportunity to call on BIS to remove the Adjudicator and create a strong Pubs Code. The Adjudicator appointment bears similarities to the appointment of a chair before the child abuse inquiry, the difference being the appointees, who resigned the chair, had less significant conflicts of interest. What's worse is that the appointed Adjudicator is not just a chair person of a panel but essentially judge and jury.

 


Saturday 9th April 2016

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