A group of MPs led by Tracy Brabin MP (Member for Batley and Spen), and the Labour Party candidate for West Yorkshire Mayor, has written to Small Business Minister, Paul Scully MP, in support of a campaign launched on 22 March being driven by the Forum of British Pubs (FBP), with the support of CAMRA, to ‘Reform Regulation 7’ of the Pubs Code.
Regulation 7 of the Pubs Code, aimed at protecting pub tied tenants, covers situations where there has been an unforeseen fundamental change in the trade of a pub enabling the tenant to have it’s rent reassessed to help it to remain viable. Ordinarily rents are reviewed every five years, but the Regulation states that when an ‘Event Trigger’ has occurred, the tenant can accelerate the review.
However, the Code defines an ‘Event Trigger’ as one which ‘must be unlikely to impact all pubs in England and Wales’, and as such the large pub owning groups are able to claim that ‘Covid’ should not be regarded as a trigger, and ignore requests for early rent assessments.
The Campaign being driven by the FPB and CAMRA calls on the Minister and Pub Code Adjudicator to support an amendment to the Code such that Regulation 7 can be invoked by an event that does indeed have the capacity to affect all pubs, such as the current pandemic.
Founder of the Forum of British Pubs, Dave Mountford, commented, ‘It is clearly in the country’s interest for pubs currently impacted so badly by the Covid crisis that they may well not open again, to have the opportunity of a rent reassessment right now. But the conditions set out in Regulation 7 of the 2016 Pubs Code give the PubCo’s the ability to reject this. In conjunction with CAMRA we are seeking an immediate amendment to the Regulation so that Covid is regarded as a ‘Trigger Event’ which could well save many of the 10,500 tied tenant pubs in our communities.’