Statutory Code: Labour to hold debate on 21 January

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Statutory code Public house Need

statutory code Labour debate
Labour is set to hold an Opposition Day Debate in Parliament on the new statutory code for pubcos on the afternoon of 21 January.

According to Shadow Pubs minister Toby Perkins Labour will be calling for a mandatory rent only option for pubcos  with over 500 pubs.

The move comes as the Government announced before Christmas that it would be delaying its response to the consultation over the introduction of a statutory code and adjudicator.

Consumer affairs minister Jo Swinson told the Publican's Morning Advertiser in December that it was a "complicated piece of work". She said that the Department for Business Innovation and Skills would be publishing a response in the New Year but wants to ensure that any response is "proportionate and targeted."

“It is becoming an annual event that Parliament debates the issue of pubs in January.  In January 2012 the House voted unanimously for a statutory code to regulate large pub companies as recommended by the BIS Select Committee.  In January 2013 after Labour called another debate on the subject, the Tory-led government agreed to introduce a statutory code.

Perkins said:  "We want to work with the government to get these much needed changes through and have set three tests for any new code:

1. We want every landlord to have the choice of whether to go free-of-tie. This would allow licensees to operate in a re-constructed market which would actually be more competitive.

2. We want fully transparent and independent rent reviews to determine licensees’ rents

3. We want a truly independent body to monitor the regulations and adjudicate in disputes between licensees and pubcos.”

CAMRA responds

Jonathan Mail CAMRA head of public affairs said: "The Government response to the consultation on pub company reform was due last September and we are deeply concerned at this lengthy delay. The window of opportunity for a Parliamentary Bill before the General Election is rapidly reducing.

"Labour’s debate in Parliament is a big boost to our campaign for reform and will put the Government under pressure to decide whether they will listen to the voice of pub goers and hard pressed publicans, or to big corporate interests.

"Now is the time for the Government to stick to their commitments and announce a timetable for legislation which introduces a statutory code, market rent only option and industry watchdog. These reforms are vital to ensure publicans can earn a decent standard of living and invest in Britain's pubs.

"Over 200 MPs have signed up to CAMRA's campaign calling for pub company reform and the debate called by Labour shows the strength of cross-party support for change.”

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