Pubs code adjudicator

Newby appointment process “short-sighted”: BEIS chair

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Slammed: Newby comes under further fire
Slammed: Newby comes under further fire

Related tags: Pubs code adjudicator, Landlord, Public house, Controversy

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee chair Iain Wright has slammed the Government’s backing of the pubs code adjudicator (PCA), calling the decision not to reopen the appointment process “short-sighted”.

Wright also said the decision “significantly jeopardises the ability of the pubs code” to improve the soured and unbalanced relationship between pubcos and tenants.

BEIS Secretary of State Greg Clark backed Newby as the PCA in a letter responding to Wright and he disagreed with the view that the appointment process for the PCA should be reopened​.

This re-ignited a heated debate between leading trade figures about Newby​ with the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), the Pubs Advisory Service and the Independent Pub Confederation all wading in on the row.

Meanwhile, Wright said the committee did not question Newby’s integrity or qualifications for the role as PCA, but emphasised there was a “strong and clear perception of a conflict of interest” in parts of the industry he would adjudicate.

Must be seen as independent

He added: “If the pubs code adjudicator is to command the confidence of all of the trade’s stakeholders, then they must be seen as independent, impartial and without financial interests in any company which derives revenue from one side of the trade.

“Newby, sadly, cannot demonstrate this. As a result, his ability to win confidence and respect throughout the industry and to do his job has already been compromised. 

“We are also disappointed with the length of time it has taken the secretary of state to respond to us on this issue.

The BEIS committee urged the Government to replace Newby​ in July, citing his perceived conflict of interest and inability to command the trust of pub tenants in July.

Wright also said the four-month delay for Clark to respond demonstrated a lack of regard for the concerns of the committee and “substantial sections” of the pub trade.

Landmark legislation

He added: “I would have hoped that the Government would have shown more respect to the great British pub industry by responding to their concerns in a timelier manner.

 “The committee will continue to scrutinise the ongoing implementation of the pubs code and the work of the adjudicator in the future.”

A BEIS spokesperson responded to Wright’s comments and disputed that the appointment process for the PCA should be reopened.

The spokesperson described the pubs code as a “landmark piece of legislation” to help pubs tenants get a fair deal.

They added: “The office of the PCA is up and running, publishing guidance on tenants’ new rights and fielding enquiries through its helpline and website.

“We would encourage anyone with a stake in the pub business to work with Newby to raise the profile of the code and improve relationships across the industry.”

Related topics: Legislation

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