It comes as the Government released its formal response to the Business Innovation and Skills Select Committee Report on pub companies, and decided not to consult on the introduction of a Statutory Code of Practice.
The Government has negotiated with the British Beer and Pub Association to enshrine the Industry Framework Code of Practice in law and provide low cost mediation to tied pub operators. Two new services will be set up to provide free advice to perspective lessees and a Conciliation Service for current lessees.
ALMR strategic affairs director Kate Nicholls added that the announcement “can only be a starting point”, and that the ALMR plans to to lead a debate on a “tenant-driven agenda to secure what tenants want and need from a Code and an enforcement and compliance regime”.
She said: “We are obviously deeply disappointed that the Government has chosen not to follow the select committee’s route map to lasting, meaningful reform. We still believe that the options laid down by the committee represent the best means to deliver that and today’s announcement can only be a partial solution.
“Ministers have mapped out an alternative route but hand discussion over the content of the code back to the industry. This is critical and it must be rapidly and significantly strengthened and enhanced if it is to become a genuine industry document. It is also key that we clarify as a matter of urgency how company codes – as distinct from the industry code - are to be monitored and enforced. Failure to do so will mean there is a very real danger that the major pub companies will face less onerous obligations than they do at present.
Nicholls added: “More can and needs to be done at an industry level to complete the package of reform – without that, the industry will not be able to draw a line under this most intractable of disputes and provide the much needed certainty and stability lessees need to invest, thrive and deliver the best consumer experience.”