Government consult on establishing statutory Code for pub companies

09 January 2013

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has written to Adrian Bailey MP, Chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, to inform him that the Government is to consult on establishing a statutory Code and Adjudicator to oversee the relationship between pub companies and licensees. 

This is in accordance with the recommendation of the Committee in its September 2011 report, Pub Companies (PDF, 2.31 MB).

Commenting on the letter, Mr Bailey said:

"The relationship between pub companies and their lessees has been the subject of regular and sustained scrutiny by my Committee over recent years. 

During this period, the industry time and again failed to address the areas of concern raised by us and deliver meaningful reform.  Opportunities to put its house in order were squandered.

In our most recent report on the issue, frustrated by the glacial speed of progress, we asked to Government to keep to its undertaking to consult on establishing a statutory Code and Adjudicator, if we so recommended. 

I am pleased the Government has now agreed to this and welcome the Secretary of State’s letter.  I also welcome his acknowledgment of the pivotal role my Committee has played in the development of policy in this area.

The Secretary of State is expected to appear before the Committee in the near future.  I look forward to that opportunity to discuss the consultation in more detail, including the proposed timetable."

In its 2011 report, Pub Companies, published on 20 September 2011, the Committee stated:

"The position of the previous Government—endorsed by the current Government—was that if we so recommended, it would consult on how to put the Code on a statutory footing. It is now time for the Government to act on that undertaking. In its response to our Report, the Government has to set out the timetable for that consultation and begin the process as a matter of urgency. We further recommend that the consultation includes proposals for a statutory Code Adjudicator armed with a full suite of sanctions. Considering the amount of evidence gathered by us and our predecessor Committees this should not be a lengthy process; and given the Government’s undertaking to us we do not anticipate any meaningful delay.  Furthermore, we caution the Government that offering a compromise of non-statutory intervention would be a departure from its undertaking to us and would not bring about the meaningful reform that is needed." [para 157]

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