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Parliament pubco debate: MPs back statutory regulation of pub industry

By Adam Pescod , 09-Jan-2013

Related topics: Pub industry statutory code, General News

MPs today voted in favour of the introduction of a statutory code and adjudicator to regulate the relationship between pub companies and their tenants.

In a three-hour House of Commons debate on the issue, politicians put forward their views on the proposals announced yesterday by business secretary Vince Cable.

Prior to the vote on the issue, minister for consumer affairs Jo Swinson said “what we are doing is not a panacea but is going to help”.

Swinson also confirmed that the consultation on the new statutory code and adjudicator will last six weeks and cover the future of the Pubs Advisory Service (PAS) and the Pubs Independent Conciliation & Arbitration Service (PICAS) which were established as part of the self-regulation deal in 2011.

She made it clear that introducing a statutory code is the last resort, but said it was necessary, echoing the opinion of Cable and other MPs that the pubcos had not done enough to show that the voluntary approach had worked.

Swinson added the measures would affect the six largest tenanted pub companies in the United Kingdom: Punch Taverns, Enterprise Inns, Greene King, Marston’s, Admiral Taverns and Star Pubs & Bars.

“It is right that we focus legislation on those with the greatest market (power) and the evidence shows that is where the greatest problems are,” said Swinson.

“High beer prices mitigated by lower rents is an (accepted) business model, but high beer prices and high rents is just a rip-off.”

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