'Give self-regulation deal a chance'

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Industry framework code Pubs independent conciliation

'Give self-regulation deal a chance'
Government minister Norman Lamb has made a plea to the industry to give the self-regulation deal over the pubco-tenant relationship a “chance to succeed”.

Speaking exclusively to the PMA, the Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer & Postal Affairs encouraged the deal’s sceptics to be “open-minded” and give it an opportunity to resolve the industry’s issues.

The Government deal with the British Beer & Pub Association agreed the introduction of the Pubs Independent Conciliation and Arbitration Service, the strengthening of the industry framework code, which will be made legally-binding, and a three-yearly re-accreditation process for company codes, which will be run by the BII (British Institute of Innkeeping).

The Government rejected calls from the Business, Innovation & Skills Committee (BISC) for a statutory code.
Lamb, who replaced Ed Davey as the minister in charge of the pubco-tenant deal in February, said: “I want to be open-minded about it and I also want others to be.

“If you have gone a long period  dealing with irretractable problems you will be sceptical about whether a new approach is going to work. My plea is let’s see if it works.

“Let’s actually give it a chance to succeed before
we condemn this. That seems to be a sensible and rational approach.”

However, he slammed some pubcos for their past actions, claiming some had acted in an unacceptable manner towards their tenants and lessees.

“I know there have been unacceptable practices from some pub companies and I don’t want to see unacceptable practices,” said Lamb.  

“I am intolerant of any landlord or owner in a business relationship behaving oppressively towards a
partner in that business — whether that is in the pub industry or anywhere else. We want a well-functioning industry and one where the parties behave responsibly and lawfully.”

However, he would not be drawn on how the Government plans to monitor the agreement and under what timeframe he will consider a review. He also refused to commit to statutory regulation if the deal proved not to resolve the problems with pubco-tenant relationships but said he would make “assessments in due course”.  

Lamb said he takes the recent Parliamentary motion won by BISC chairman Adrian Bailey “seriously”. Bailey is insisting that the Government establishes an independent panel, approved by BISC, to monitor the deal.

However, the Government has opposed the move, claiming it is not appropriate.

Lamb said: “I take the views expressed in that debate and the outcome of that debate very seriously. It was a clear recognition of Parliament’s concern about the industry.

“The industry itself ought to understand the strength of feeling in Parliament and clean up its act.”

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