The British Beer & Pub Association has today submitted its response to the consultation on the Statutory Review of the Pubs Code and Pubs Code Adjudicator
In its response to the consultation, the BBPA has said it believes most aspects of the Pubs Code are working in an acceptable way, considering the complexity of the legislation and how long it has been in place.
Feedback to the BBPA from the six pub companies covered by the Code indicates that the average length of occupation and the number of enquiries regarding new tenancies have increased since the Code came into place. Furthermore, new tenancy options have been introduced to the market, giving prospective tenants a wider range of choice on how they run their pub to suit their financial position and operating experience. Most importantly of all, since the Code has come into place, the majority of tenants/lessees say they are satisfied with their pub company overall and are more likely than not to recommend them to another licensee.
The BBPA has, however, raised concerns in its response that some aspects of the Code need to be improved to provide clarity and certainty for all parties involved. It believes the Adjudicator should accredit the individual “Market Rent Only” agreements for the six pub companies to provide tenants and lessees with more information and greater clarity. For the same reason, the BBPA believes the Adjudicator should publish ‘golden threads’ of common interpretation in certain areas of the Code, so that all parties have a clear and consistent understanding of the legislation.
The BBPA has also said that the success or failure of the Code and the Adjudicator should not be solely based on the number of MRO agreements. The MRO option is only one element of the Code, which was not introduced with the singular aim of increasing the number of free of tie agreements, but to oversee a much broader, fair and balanced relationship between pub companies and tenants.
Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:
“The evidence suggests that the Pubs Code and the Adjudicator are doing the job they were meant to do; regulating the relationship of pub operator and publican. It is still early days for a Code which had no transition period and where guidance and decision making has been slow. On that basis, this review should acknowledge that the Code is a work in progress.
“The Government and Adjudicator should work more closely with industry and tenants to ensure that leased and tenanted pubs remain a great way to run a business for many generations to come.”