BIS: Pubco critics slate Government response

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pub independent conciliation, English-language films, Organization

BIS: Pubco critics slate Government response
Anti-tie campaigners have slammed the government’s response to the Business Innovation and Skills Committee’s (BISC) report into the pubco-tenant relationship.

The Government failed to implement the committee’s recommendation of a Statutory Code of Practice for the pub industry, instead saying the current Industry Framework Code will be strengthened and made legally binding.

There are also plans to introduce a Pub Independent Conciliation Advisory Service (PICAS) and Pubs Advisory Service (PAS).

However, the new measures have been described as a “travesty for tenants” and “stitch up” by pub lobbyists who believe it represents a U-turn by the coalition government.

Lib Dem chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, Greg Mulholland MP said: “This is a quite baffling response from the Government, considering that ministers clearly signed up to the plan put in place by BIS in March 2010, which was to legislate and rebalance the industry if the pubcos failed to reform.

“There are clear questions of ethics here. Effectively ministers have been negotiating with one side of this long standing dispute, without the other side even knowing about it and haven’t even consulted with the majority of industry organisations about what should be in the codes of practice.

“Quite simply, coming up with a solution agreed only with the pubcos and their representative organisation makes the reforms illegitimate and the fact that the new mediation service will be pubco funded is farcical. I suspect it will not even be used by the vast majority of tenants who will see it as yet another pubco stitch-up.

The Save the Pub Group will campaign for reform and will of course continue to push for real change and we will use all means at our disposal to do this”.

Fair Pint’s Simon Clarke added: “This will be a huge loss and devastating blow to tenants. The government promised that if the select committee found the pub companies were left wanting, it would act on it.

“It makes it look like they have done something but they have done nothing of any material difference which is a bitter blow. It is a U-turn by the government.

“If what we are talking about is a weak code being put into a legal context and a conciliatory service funded by the BBPA, then it is bad news all round.

“We wait to see if they have left the door open for us to talk about a free-of-tie option.”

Related topics: Legislation

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