Fresh calls for pubs code review in demonstration outside parliament

By Claire Churchard contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fresh calls: pubs code campaigners demand review
Fresh calls: pubs code campaigners demand review

Related tags: Pca, Pubs code

Campaigners representing tied pub tenants have launched a fresh call for a review of the pubs code, holding a demonstration outside parliament to highlight the issue.

The campaign claims the code has failed to achieve its key principle of “fair and lawful dealing” and has delivered “only a handful of consent awards” since it came into force in July 2016.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) is supporting the call and has produced a leaflet for pubs.

Blocking rebalance

Campaigners restated existing concerns that pub-owning businesses (POBs) “are doing everything in their power to block the rebalance of risk and reward the pubs code was supposed to achieve”.

Campaigner Dave Mountford said: “The notion that ‘tied tenants shall be no worse off than the free of tie’ has not come to fruition either.”

A report published last year by the pubs code adjudicator found that POBs had been blocking tied tenants’ access to the market-rent-only (MRO) option​ and going against the spirit of the pubs code.

MPs meet campaigners 

Shadow Business Minister Gill Furniss MP who met campaigners at the demonstration, said: “I was pleased to join pub campaigners calling for an urgent review of the pubs code. Unfortunately, the code has failed in its fundamental objective, which was to create a level playing field for all pub tenants. Instead, we have seen bigger corporate chains exploiting loopholes in the code, all to the detriment of smaller local pubs. The code is not fit for purpose and the Government must urgently review it.”

Tied tenant and campaigner Gary Murphy, who has asked the pubs code adjudicator to rule on his own MRO request, met his MP Theresa Villiers. 

Murphy said: “Ms Villiers promised to write to Greg Clarke and raise the issue with him. We hope this marks the start of a real change in the industry.”

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee is due to hold an evidence session reviewing the code​ and has called for evidence from pubs.

Related topics: Legislation

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