CAMRA wins pubs code information challenge

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Campaigners' victory: the ICO ruled in favour of a release of information on the performance of the pubs code
Campaigners' victory: the ICO ruled in favour of a release of information on the performance of the pubs code

Related tags: Camra, Pubs code, Government, beis

The information commissioner has ruled in favour of campaigners’ bid to see details on the performance of the pubs code released.

A request by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) for the publication of information on the code was initially refused by the pubs code adjudicator (PCA).

After the information commissioner’s office (ICO) ruled in their favour, campaigners said the information will help make the arbitration process more transparent for pub tenants.

Since its introduction two years ago, the code has been accused of containing loopholes that leave large pub companies to bully tied tenants into poorer terms.

CAMRA said there was a fundamental need for the Government to launch a full review into the code.

More transparency 

The group’s national chairman Jackie Parker welcomed the decision from the ICO.

She said: “We welcome the decision from the ICO, and the release of this information by PCA is an important step in our fight to secure a fair arbitration process for pub tenants, and ultimately save viable pubs from closure.

“Openness and transparency will not only help tenants navigate the MRO process more easily, but will help build confidence in the code, which has been subject to criticism since its launch in 2016.

“Now that the PCA has released the requested information following the decision notice, we hope the PCA recognises the benefits of transparency in the MRO process and exerts pressure on pub companies to waive confidentiality over arbitration awards. This is essential to give tenants visibility of vital principles being established through the arbitration process.

“What is fundamentally needed is for the Government to launch a full review of the code in order to address key issues that have arisen since it came into operation.”

Scheduled review

A review of the code is scheduled to take place after 31 March 2019, however, the business minister has suggested he may move this forward in response to publicans’ urging.

Richard Harrington, the Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, said he noted the wishes of the select committee for review at the start of next year.

He said: “I note the committee’s suggestion that the review should begin at the start of 2019 and I will take that into consideration when finalising the timetable for the review, consistent with the legislative requirements.”

Related topics: Legislation

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