Fair Pint and BBPA among witnesses for MPs' pubs code debate

By James Wallin contact

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Related tags: Public house

The Small Business bill will be discussed by a committee next month
The Small Business bill will be discussed by a committee next month
Pub campaigners and industry bodies will share a platform next month as they give evidence to the committee discussing the Government’s pubs code proposals.

Ex-Punch tenant and pubco critic Dave Mountford will be the first to address the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill Committee on 14 October.

Two days later Fair Pint campaigner Simon Clarke and representatives from the Campaign for Real Ale; British Beer & Pub Association and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, will give their evidence.

Mountford said: “When the Government announced that it intended to hold a consultation on the relationship between tenants and their landlords, they included the overriding principle that the measures they planned would make sure that ‘the tied tenant was no worse off than the free of tie’.

Failure

“I intend to make it perfectly clear that the measures proposed in response to the consultation will clearly fail to achieve that principle.

“In the same way as self-regulation has failed, by making tokenistic gestures such as PIRRS and PICAS, so the planned adjudicator will be unable to move fast enough or have the power to take the immediate action that is so important to redressing the gap between the two parties as tenants are always at the mercy of the whim of their landlord.

“The grocery code on which the adjudicator is based was designed to resolve disputes between two businesses with access to similar resources and advice - which is clearly not the case in this sector.”

Clarke said: “The Government proposals cannot deliver the fair environment desired as they leave the power and resources in the hands of the very people who have manipulated the system to the appalling circumstances we now find ourselves in.

“There is huge support for the market rent only option, where a tenant has the power to decide whether they want to remain in a relationship where they pay rent and purchase beer from their pub owning company or have a simplified relationship where they pay only rent and can buy beer from any source.

No support

“In contrast, not one organisation has shown support for the Government's key proposal to balance rents against tied beer prices. The Government 'formula' encourages complex, costly and time consuming referrals to arbitration which a tenant cannot afford.

“If the tie is fair and reasonable it should be able to survive on its own merits not on the vulnerability or naivety of individuals with their life savings at stake.”

Tom Stainer, CAMRA's head of communications, said: “CAMRA will take this opportunity to express support for the Government's plans to introduce a statutory code and adjudicator, while urging MPs to support an amendment to the Bill to better protect tied licensees.

“Our view is that market rent only and guest beer options remain the simplest means of delivering the Government's commitment to ensuring fair play. We hope to persuade the committee to support this approach."

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “The BBPA has been invited and we will certainly be taking the opportunity to highlight key ways we think the legislation can be made to work better.”

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said she welcomed the opportunity to debate the bill and said it was key that the trade was able to see the draft code as soon as possible. She said she was keen that the code represented the latest revisions to the industry own code of conduct.

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3 comments

Funny that

Posted by Kev Stewart,

A man walks into the Yes Bar and says "Do you do free beer ? "
Barman " No Sir "
Controversial !

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RFM - Correct as ever

Posted by Dave Mountford,

Your right, its going to be a delicate balance between showing that the current section of the Bill won't work and preparing the ground for the obvious amendments when they come - I will no doubt be a little easier in the Lords but there will be no harm in destroying any of the very weak evidence put forward to avoid FOT

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Interesting

Posted by RFM,

Looking at some of those taking part I think perhaps the bill will be kicked into the long grass.

Remember this committee is not about opinions. it's about facts.

It is also about the bill as it stands. The amendment stag is when, well amendments are considered.

Hope this is televised should interesting to see how long it takes some to get abusive.

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