Adjudicator raises £1.5m from pubcos in levies

By James Wallin, MCA

- Last updated on GMT

Real options: Pubs Code Adjudicator’s office raised a total levy of £1.5m in 2016/17
Real options: Pubs Code Adjudicator’s office raised a total levy of £1.5m in 2016/17

Related tags: Pubs code, 2016

The Pubs Code Adjudicator’s office raised a total levy of £1.5m in 2016/17 from the six pubcos covered by the legislation.

The details are included in a report published by the PCA on the first-year anniversary of the code​.

Pubcos are required to pay shares of the levy ranging from 7% (£105,000) to 40% (£594,000) based on the proportion of tied pubs covered by the code owned by each.

The report gives a summary of activity by the PCA between 21 July 2016 and 31 March 2017, although updated figures will be published this week.

The latest figures show that the PCA accepted 119 cases for arbitration with 14 awards made and one award made following the withdrawal of the referral by the referrer. There were 104 cases accepted by the PCA for arbitration in relation to the offer of a market rent only option. Awards were made in 11 cases, one following referral.

As of 31 March there were a total of 130 accepted cases and referrals under consideration.

Tangible benefits

In his forward to the report, adjudicator Paul Newby said he expected 2017/18 to be the year “the pubs code comes into its own and demonstrates the tangible benefits and real options it gives to tied tenants”.

He said: “I cannot over-emphasise my readiness to engage with everyone and anyone who can help me to promote the Code. This includes all of the tenant organisations. The campaigning tenant bodies were a driving force behind the Code – their role in its creation was a significant achievement. I hope they will now feel able to take a constructive place in the new settlement that they had a huge role in creating. My door is open.

“We are beginning to see the impact of this effort during the first year. Interest in the Code is high. The office has answered a large number of enquiries, and is receiving an increasing number of referrals for arbitration. Early in 2017 I began to make the first arbitration awards, and this continues.

“I know that there are concerns within the tenant community about the way the Code has operated and some frustration over the time that arbitrations can take to resolve. But the PCA must deal with all cases in a proper and lawful manner. To do otherwise would simply increase the risk of challenge with the inevitable consequence of greater delay and cost.

“The Code is new law that is being tested robustly by both tenants and pub-owning businesses and their solicitors. I am confident that we will be able to move more speedily as that new law beds in, cases are completed and key issues resolved.

“Stakeholders tell me that they want more detailed and comprehensive information on Pubs Code provisions and processes. I want to work with them to produce and promote this. It is also important that I maintain a high quality arbitration service that responds to and meets stakeholders’ expectations.

“Through all of this engagement I am starting to build a solid evidence base about the impact the Code is having on the industry, and that can be used to drive the future strategy of the PCA. A priority for the coming year is to conduct a thorough validation of information about the operation of the Code – and in particular of the Market Rent Only provisions – on which to base judgements about further action to ensure Code compliance.

“2017/18 will be another busy year, but I am confident that it will also be when the Pubs Code comes into its own and demonstrates the tangible benefits and real options it gives to tied tenants. I look forward to working with everyone with an interest in the good health of our pubs sector to make a reality of that success.”

Related topics: Legislation

Related news