Brigid Simmonds, BBPA Chief Executive comments:
“We will be studying the bill in detail, but on an initial reading, there are no big surprises. The bill as published does however raise issues, and we will be drawing these to the attention of MPs and Ministers.
“The definition of a pub is a concern; the inclusion of tenancies-at-will and franchises on the face of the bill and within the scope of the Code, would be unwelcome. Tenancies-at-will are temporary agreements, and would mean that in many cases, pubs would be closed if they faced the full range of provisions of the Code on a short-term basis. Under the current Industry Framework Code, on which these proposals are based, these temporary agreements are specifically excluded.
“Leaving the Code itself to a later date is no surprise but will create uncertainty for many businesses, particularly since the draft is lacking clarity and imposes huge burdens on small businesses. We will certainly be vigilant towards new proposals creeping into the plans, through secondary legislation, or unexpected and unwelcome changes imposed on the industry at a later date.
“In particular, we are disappointed that the bill itself does not specify the proposals that have been ruled out by the Government, such as mandatory free-of-tie or guest beers. This does add to business uncertainly for the entire sector.”