The 19-page report, an abbreviated version of which will be issued to MPs ahead of a debate on the enforcement of the pubs code on Thursday (26 January), gives the confederation's assessments on the enforcement of the code in the six months since it became law.
In the report, the BPC says that the pubs code is failing tenants and not giving them easy access to the market-rent-only (MRO) option because of five primary reasons. These state that:
- Tenants seeking MRO are not being issued with deeds of variation to lease, meaning that a whole new lease needs to be agreed for MRO
- Additional administration charges are being issued to tenants who pursue MRO
- Fees for independent rent assessors are unreasonably high
- Tenants are not being made aware of their chance to take MRO
- Pubcos are not issuing their tenants with information on how an MRO lease varies from a tied lease
Off the back of these findings, the BPC has demanded that the Government intervene to ensure the code is being adequately enforced. Furthermore, they have demanded that the Government bow to pressure and appoint a new adjudicator.
Newby's office has come out fighting in response to the report, launching a stinging attack on the confederation. A spokesperson for the pubs code adjudicator said: "The British Pub Confederation’s report contains assertions about the pubs code adjudicator that are masquerading as facts.
"We have consistently invited the confederation to meet and engage constructively with us and it has ignored all overtures.
"Paul Newby is fully committed to the mission of creating a fair and lawful environment for tied pub tenants through enforcement of the code. If the confederation has specific evidence of code breaches by the pub-owning businesses, it should bring that evidence to the PCA to help him fulfil that mission."
‘Flouting the code’
The chair of the BPC, Greg Mulholland, has been a vocal critic of Paul Newby since his appointment as adjudicator last year and was the MP that secured this week's House of Commons debate on the enforcement of the code.
Mulholland, who campaigned vigorously in parliament around the code, said: "The evidence of the operation of the first six months of the pubs code clearly shows that pubcos are systematically and routinely thwarting and flouting the code and the intentions of Government and parliament in introducing it.
"As this important code and legislation is being ignored, the person whose task it is to uphold and enforce it, is completely failing to do so.
"The Government now needs to step in and make the pubs code work as it should and also remove the current adjudicator, as recommended by the select committee and recruit someone who will uphold and enforce the code."