CAMRA says time should be called on the sharp practices of pubcos riding roughshod over the provisions of the pubs code.
CAMRA’s call comes as the Government announces a statutory review of the code, the pubs code adjudicator and its implementation.
CAMRA is calling for profound changes to the code as it says the large national pub companies are preventing meaningful reforms.
The Pubs Code was introduced in 2016 to deal with concerns about an imbalance in the relationship between large pub owning businesses and their tied tenants.
The Code gives tied tenants certain rights, including the right at certain times to exercise a “market rent only”(MRO) option, under which their rent is set at the market level and, in return, they are no longer required to buy products from their pub owning business.
However, evidence is showing pub companies are using every trick in the book to stop tied tenants taking advantage of the code and in particular the MRO option.
CAMRA’s Chief Executive Tom Stainer (pictured above) said: “The introduction of the pubs code could have marked a turning point for England’s community pubs but, since it came in, we’ve seen pub companies use every trick in the book to prevent the legislation from achieving what it set out to do.
“When Parliament brought in the pubs code its intention was for market rent only to be a realistic option, and that simply hasn’t happened. This review is therefore essential and welcome, but for communities to stop losing pubs to predatory, short-term business practices, it must lead to meaningful reforms and to a code that is fit for purpose.”
And it is not just CAMRA calling for change. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “There are clearly concerns, many of which are shared by our members, that flaws in the legislation have caused delays since the introduction of the pubs code.
“The statutory review of the code could provide us with some much needed clarity to ensure the code and adjudicator can be as effective as possible, and provide timely support for tenants.”
The government minister responsible for the review, Kelly Tollhurst said she wants to hear from tenants on the effectiveness of the code.
She said a number of MPs had written to her detailing several issues affecting pubs in their constituencies, including whether the pubs code is delivering the policy goal of protecting tied tenants’ rights.
The consultation closes on 22 July.
The review documentation can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/pubs-code-and-pubs-code-adjudicator-statutory-review
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