BBPA slams mandatory code over pub job losses

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Mandatory code Beer Public house Alcoholic beverage Rob hayward

Rob Hayward (second from left) gave his thoughts on the effect of a mandatory code
Rob Hayward (second from left) gave his thoughts on the effect of a mandatory code
The suggestion that the closure of pubs and loss of jobs in the industry is a price worth paying for a 1% drop in alcohol consumption is "quite offensive", says BBPA.

The suggestion that the closure of pubs and loss of jobs in the industry is a price worth paying for a 1% drop in alcohol consumption through a mandatory alcohol retailing code is "quite offensive".

That was the message delivered by British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) boss Rob Hayward to MPs on the House of Commons Policing and Crime Bill Committee.

The proposed code would see pubs forced to abide by strict rules on a range of issues. Minimum standards of training must be met. Wine must be available in 125ml glasses and spirits must be served in 25ml portions.

The mandatory code could cost community pubs £1,100 each per year to comply with and the total burden for the on and off-trades could be £161m.

"It has been widely reported that 39 pubs are closing every week," said Hayward. "Now that is not just 39 pubs but 39 families without homes and the loss of associated jobs such as accountants and stock-takers."

Hayward said the alcohol duty escalator alone could lead to the loss of 59,000 jobs over the next five years in the pub and brewing sector.

"To effectively say that is a price worth paying and to actually write it on a document when we are touching 2m people having lost their jobs is actually quite offensive."

Hayward slammed the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) for the mandatory code for not taking into account the cost of unemployment.

"It is not a balanced RIA," he said. "There are a number of deficiencies in it."

Hayward said the BBPA agreed on some clauses to clamp down on problem premises and individuals but stressed the code must not add to the burden of regulation.

Alcohol Concern chief executive Don Shenker argued that a minimum price of 30p a unit of alcohol must be included as one of the mandatory conditions.

However, Hayward said it was his understanding that setting price was illegal under competition law.

"Our advice is clear (to areas that set a minimum price) — you can't do it."

He added: "I think there is a lot of doubt in the Government's mind over what powers can be given over price."

Hayward said he believed that the BBPA's own voluntary code of standards document could be strengthened sufficiently to work effectively across the sector.

Meanwhile Association of Chief Police Officers representative Mike Craik and Alcohol Concern's Shenker argued that a national set of minimum standards on promotions and training was required.

But Chris White of the Local Government added: "I am nervous about mandatory national conditions."

Related topics Legislation

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