Rachel Reeves, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has written to BEIS Minister Richard Harrington to call for urgent action to ensure pub tenants enjoy the rights and protection promised to them by the Pubs Code.
This correspondence follows a recent Committee evidence session with the Pubs Code Adjudicator, Paul Newby, and his deputy, Fiona Dickie, to review the operation of the Pubs Code and the performance of the Pubs Code Adjudicator.
Rachel Reeves, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee said:
"The Pubs Code was supposed to give tenants more rights and greater protection when dealing with the large pub companies that own tied pubs. Two years on, the reality is that neither tenants or pubs companies are satisfied that it is working.
There is evidence, acknowledged by the Pubs Code Adjudicator, that some of the big pub companies, such as Greene King and Ei, are gaming the system. The fear is that big business is bullying pub tenants up-and-down the country by pushing them into accepting poor terms. Profits are being hoovered up by these pub giants while the efforts to break free of the tie by these small, local businesses ae being frustrated at every turn.
I urge the Minister to put pressure on the Pubs Code Adjudicator to tackle these failings in how the Pubs Code is currently operating. The PCA needs to get the pub companies to act now to ensure they cooperate with the Code and not just sit on its hands and wait for the review next year. If the Minister and the PCA are not able to deliver progress in ensuring the Code works in the way Parliament intended, Parliament will need to revisit this issue and determine whether further legislative changes are required to protect pub tenants."