BBPA chief denies pubcos are 'dragging heels' over MRO

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Determined: Brigid Simmonds of the BBPA wants to make the legislation work
Determined: Brigid Simmonds of the BBPA wants to make the legislation work

Related tags: Pubs code adjudicator, Landlord, Leasehold estate, Lease

British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Brigid Simmonds has refuted allegations that pubcos have been “dragging their heels” over the pubs code. 

Speaking on Radio 4 You and Yours​ programme she said that all the pubcos were “determined” to make the legislation work.

She said that two crucial issues required resolution. Firstly, whether a market-rent-only (MRO) option required a new lease agreement or a deed of variation. Secondly, she said confirmation was needed on what constituted that agreement.

“As the adjudicator has said, I don’t believe we should be seeing the success of this legislation on the numbers of MRO deals,” she added. 

“A lot of tied tenants have used the MRO process as a way of getting better choice, a better deal and a better deal that suits the capital they have to invest.”

She called on the pubs code adjudicator (PCA) to complete the arbitrations within the system. She said once the rulings are made, there may be court action to resolve any issues.

PCA Paul Newby has said he was keen to resolve the “significant issues” following the publication of a recent report that found pubcos had been blocking tenants' access to MRO.

He said: “I am very keen that we progress the cases before us on these big issues that are heavily disputed.”

He said his role as adjudicator meant that he needed to deal with the arbitrations “fairly and lawfully”.

“There are understandably high expectations of this process. But the fact is this is new law and it is a new law that is being tested to the hilt on both sides of the industry,” he said.  

“I am particularly keen to resolve the issues that lie down the MRO route.”

Last month, the BBPA responded to the report saying that it failed to asked the pubcos for its views and was "one-sided and opaque". 

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