Legislation

Deadline for pubs code consultation extended until 2016

By Emily Sutherland contact

- Last updated on GMT

The deadline has been extended until the new year
The deadline has been extended until the new year

Related tags: House of lords, Proposals

The deadline for the pubs code consultation has been extended in order to give the industry more time to respond, following concerns many tenants would be unable to respond in the busy run-up to Christmas.

Speaking in a House of Lords debate yesterday, business secretary Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “The Government have listened to concerns about the timing of the consultation.

"We cannot withdraw part one and reissue the consultation as one document without delaying the whole package beyond the May deadline many stakeholders want to meet.

“Therefore, to meet the concerns expressed, we intend to extend the deadline for responses to the first part of the consultation well into the new year. This will give stakeholders more time to look at our proposals in the round and respond to them as a whole.”

'Sensible step'

The move has been welcomed by trade bodies and tenant campaign groups, who have both expressed their concerns about responding to the first part of the consultation whilst in the dark about what was in the second.

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers chief executive Kate Nicholls said the extension was a ‘sensible step’ that would allow both points in both parts of the consultation to be considered.

Pubs Advisory Service head Chris Wright added the decision would give tenants the much-needed time to respond outside of the busy Christmas trading period.

“We are glad to see the Government have seen sense on our proposal to move the consultation response deadline until after the new year. Baroness Neville Rolfe has stated that the Government will give way to our demands here and move the part one deadline to the same date as the yet unseen part 2 consultation deadline. This will give tenants the much needed ‘clear water’ in which to consider the entire code before responding.”

The Lords also passed an amendment to put the market-rent only (MRO) option in a separate piece of legislation, the Enterprise Bill, which Baroness Neville Rolfe warned could create ‘legal uncertainties’.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe also confirmed the second part of the consultation would contain a question on removing the controversial condition that tenants will only have the right to request MRO at a rent review proposal, if the proposed rent is higher than the existing rent the tenant is paying.

Business minister Anna Soubry is due to sit down with representatives from across the trade in a series of meetings held today.

The Government said the second part of the consultation, which will contain information on the types of agreements outside the scope of the code, rent reviews, and the Government’s proposed fee for taking a case to the adjudicator, will be released ‘shortly.’ 

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