Call for ‘fundamental changes to pubs code’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Alteration required: CAMRA has called on the Government to change some of the principles of the pubs code
Alteration required: CAMRA has called on the Government to change some of the principles of the pubs code

Related tags Legislation Pubs code Campaign for real ale Beer

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has urged the Government to ensure tied tenants are treated fairly and called for change to the pubs code.

The consumer organisation raised concerns about the code and its effectiveness while asking for more types of tenancies to be included in the legislation as part of its submission to the second statutory review of the pubs code and pubs code adjudicator (PCA).

It also wanted to give licensees the right to serve a guest beer, tackle the continuing issue of dilapidations and for the code to require pub companies to publish information about rent assessments while giving the PCA more power and resources.

The body recently conducted a survey of tied tenants, which revealed almost three quarters (73%) of participants did not think they were treated fairly and lawfully. Just over a fifth (22%) said yes and 4% weren’t sure.

In addition, those surveyed were asked if in terms of costs and support provided to them as a tenant, they were no worse off than a free-of-tie tenant.

Balanced relationship

Seven in 10 (73%) said no, while almost a quarter (24%) said yes and the remainder didn’t know.

Furthermore, the campaign group also called for direct communication between tied tenants and the PCA alongside clarity about gaming machines and for more public information to be made available by pub companies.

CAMRA campaigns director Nick Boley said: “As consumers, it’s important to us tied tenants can make a long-term success of their pubs and share the unique character of their businesses to become an integral part of their community.

“This isn’t possible without a balanced relationship between licensees and pub companies and CAMRA is keen to see the review of the pubs code in England and Wales used to its full potential.

“It’s vital the pubs code works as originally intended by Parliament so tied tenants are guaranteed fair and dealing and they are no worse off than free-of-tie tenants – particularly given the challenges currently faced by the whole pub trade.

“I hope [the] Government takes this opportunity to make substantive changes to the code and creates a fair system that works for licensees and consumers, as well as pub companies.”

Previous asks

Earlier in the summer (July), CAMRA asked the Government to ensure the view of tied tenants were at the fore​ of its pubs code review.

This followed a Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee meeting hearing from voices across the sector on the usefulness of the legislation.

The code, which came into force in 2017, came under fire and was labelled a “wholesale failure”​ by pub campaigners at the meeting.

Related topics Legislation

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