Paul Newby will give evidence to the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee in Parliament following concerns from campaign groups about his ability to be impartial.
The PMA will attend the event, which can be watched live on Parliament TV, and will cover:
- The establishment and purpose of the Pubs Code Adjudicator;
- The suitability of Mr Newby for the role; and
- Mr Newby’s ability to address tenants concerns about his appointment.
Newby will have the power to arbitrate individual disputes about breaches of the code, which has been delayed beyond its original implementation date of May 26, including disputes on rent and market rent-only options, and to provide redress. He will also investigate suspected systemic breaches of the code across the sector.
Members of the Fair Pint campaign have argued his work as a surveyor at Fleurets representing pubcos including Punch and Enterprise leaves him in breach of the guidelines.
But Newby has said to characterise him as someone who only or predominantly works with pubcos is “frankly incorrect”.
He told the PMA: “As someone who has acted many times on tenants’ side, I have seen the long running difficulties between pubcos and tenants. I’m a great supporter of making the relationship between tenants and the pubcos fairer and more transparent — that is what my role is.
“If you read through the Fleurets brochure, it doesn’t show a firm beholden to pubcos. Yes, they work for pubcos, but it’s only part of it. You need to remember the number of cases that I’ve dealt with personally, and the number Fleurets dealt with overall, is miniscule compared to the 12,000 [tied] pubs we’re talking about.”
The British Pub Confederation does not accept the appointment of Newby, and the group has refused to meet him as part of key meetings stakeholders in the next month.
Chair of the Confederation MP Greg Mulholland said it was "absurd" to meet Mr Newby when the British Pub Confederation had written to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills making it clear they did not accept the appointment and make seek to challenge it legally.