Statutory Code: Government decision delayed while it considers 'next steps'

By Michelle Perrett , 13-Dec-2013
Last updated on 13-Dec-2013 at 17:14 GMT

Related topics: Pub industry statutory code, General News

Minister for consumer affairs Jo Swinson has admitted that a Government decision over the introduction of a statutory code will be delayed.

A Government decision on a statory code has been delayed

A Government decision on a statory code has been delayed

Today the Government published the consultation responses received but Swinson said in a covering letter that “it is important that we do not rush into a decision”.

Swinson added: “We promised Government intervention to address the unfairness in the relationship between pub companies and tenants and this remains our commitment.

"We also said that intervention would be proportionate and targeted and, in taking the time to process, evaluate and assess the excellent response to the consultation, that remains our goal. We will decide on the next steps very soon.”

CAMRA expresses 'serious concern'

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) expressed serious concern at the delay to proposals claiming that the Government had given a clear commitment that a decision would be made by the end of the year.

Mike Benner, chief executive, said: “The Government’s indecisiveness on this issue puts the future of many thousands of community pubs at risk. The large pub companies have had ten years to eliminate unfair practices and to properly support their licensees but have failed to do so.

"The case for Government action is overwhelming. We urge the minister to come clean and announce whether or not the Government will stick to their pledge to introduce a code and adjudicator.

“Left to their own devices the large pub companies will continue to force good licensees out of business and sell many hundreds of valued and profitable pubs for redevelopment. The solution to a decade of abuse is a code, adjudicator and an option for licensees to pay a market rent only giving them freedom to buy beer at open market prices.”

British Beer & Pub Association response:

Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive:  “The analysis published today by DBIS from London Economics confirms our key concern; that the introduction of a guest beer, or free-of-tie options would cost thousands of jobs and close thousands of pubs.

“In fact, none of the scenarios considered would benefit our sector, either in terms of jobs or pubs.”

“As the report acknowledges, real progress has been made with self-regulation; we will continue to make the case that pubs operators and licensees, working together to enhance self-regulation, represents the best future for our sector. I hope the Government takes heed of its own evidence.”

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