The Forum of Private Business (FPB) says 90% of tied tenant pubs are being failed by the Pubs Code, after yesterday’s select committee evidence session from the Adjudicator Paul Newby and his Deputy.
Under questioning from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, Adjudicator Paul Newby and Deputy Fiona Dickie admitted that to date just 10% of tied tenants had taken the Market Rent Only (MRO) option.
Leading campaigner Dave Mountford, who represents the Forum’s Protect Your Pub campaign, said: “MRO’s have been called for by vast numbers of tied tenant pubs, so today’s figure only proves yet again why the Pubs Code needs a review and the Adjudicator needs more powers.”
In 2013’s consultation, over 92% of participants responded saying they would choose to go free of tie or MRO.
Dave Mountford and the Forum believe that bad practice by the Pub Owning Businesses (POBs) is influencing the low take up.
After outlining the poor take up rate, the Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) and his Deputy (DPCA) also admitted that the POBs were resisting the effects of the legislation, citing EI Group and Greene King as examples.
Dave Mountford added: “The cost and risk of any appeals or legal challenges are thrown onto the shoulders of the tenants, so it’s not surprising that lots give up before it gets to that stage. A review of the legislation is vital if those tied tenanted pubs are to receive a fair deal.”
Campaigners are seeking an enhanced remit for the PCA, as well as more resourcing, so that the Adjudicator can deal with a huge backlog of cases.
“After two year’s in the role, the Adjudicator is still unable to say if he requires further regulatory power. In my experience, and in the experience of tied tenant pubs across the country, our campaign is saying he most certainly does,” comments Dave Mountford.