Legislation

Pubs code: 'Hundreds missing out on MRO' as delay continues

By James Evison contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pubs code: 'Hundreds missing out on MRO' as delay continues

Related tags: Pubs code, British pub confederation, Implementation, House of lords

Save the Pub and British Pub Confederation chair Greg Mulholland has called on business minister Anna Soubry to provide an implementation date for the pubs code - and make it retrospective.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mulholland said tied pub tenants eligible for the Market Rent-Only Option (MRO) were now 'missing out' due to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills' mistakes.

He also pointed out there was legal precedent for the code to be applied retrospectively, as it was meant to come into force on 26 May, before the current drafting issues were discovered​.

Mulholland referencing the ​Burmah Oil principle​, ​which allows legislation to be retrospective - when it is a matter of public interest.

BIS now expect the legislation to be passed before summer recess - but this was before the EU referendum result, and no final date was ever set.

Hundreds

The British Pub Confederation estimates for every month the code is delayed, 220 tenants miss out on their chance for MRO.

Mulholland said in the Commons: "Will the Minister finally give a date for the implementation of the Pubs Code and with licensees missing out due to BIS’s mistakes and the delay, will she now apply the Burmah Oil principle to ensure the Code is retrospective from the original date, as it clearly can be?”

Soubry said: “We have re-laid the regulations, and I am looking forward to them passing through their various stages so that we can implement the pubs code as a matter of urgency. I very much hope that it will be implemented by the time the House rises.”

Retrospective

Mulholland then replied: ​“While I am pleased the Pubs Code has now been laid before Parliament, licensees now need a clear date for when the code will be implemented. BIS must now work to make sure the Code is in place before the Summer Recess, and must ensure the Code is retrospective, granting all tied tenants their legal right to the Market Rent Only option from 26 May 2016.

“So far BIS have failed to give any explanation of why they can’t or won’t make the legislation retrospective, and with pubcos refusing to honour the original start date, hundreds of licensees are missing out on their chance to choose the Market Rent Only option.

"There is clear legal precedent for the legislation to be retrospective, so BIS must now show their support for tied tenants and make the Pubs Code apply from the original start date of the Code.”

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