Forum of Private Business questions why it’s taken 3 years, but welcomes the PCA’s first investigation

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) has welcomed today’s launch of the Pubs Code Adjudicator’s (PCA’s) first investigation, but are questioning why it has taken so long to do so.

The case, which is investigating the suspected use of unreasonable stocking terms by Star pubs and bars in proposed MRO (Market Rent Only) tenancies, is the first undertaken by the PCA since its launch 3 years ago.

This is despite calls for earlier investigations relating to other issues.

Ian Cass, Chief Executive of the Forum of Private Business, said: “The issue over stocking requirements as set out in the pubs code was raised when the code was first introduced 3 years ago as something that needed clarification.

“Surely government and the PCA should have realised that this greater clarification would be needed, when Heineken bought 1,900 Punch pubs in 2017, making it the third largest pub operator in the UK, something the Secretary of State for Business Greg Clark welcomed as “another significant vote of confidence in the UK economy”, because it would be obvious that Heineken as a brewer would be making this investment in order to sell more of their products.”

Earlier this year the FPB formally cut ties with the Pubs Code Adjudicator citing his failure to have made any move to resolve significant issues within the industry.

In a comment at the time, Ian Cass said: "Whilst we continue to make ourselves available to Mr Newby to provide evidence and to engage on specific issues if required, there seems to be no merit in simply joining a regular talk shop, and we have advised him that we believe that our time will be better spent lobbying the politicians directly where the influence may be greater as well as providing much needed information and support to new and existing pub tenants.”


Notes to editors:

For more information about today’s launch of the PCA investigation visit

About Forum of Private Business

The Forum of Private Business is a not-for-profit comprehensive business support organisation founded in 1977. Our membership is spread throughout the UK and primarily made up of companies that employ between 1-50 employees, helping them to manage employees, saving time, giving advice, support and protection where a business needs it. We are a recognised leading authority on business issues and represent the interests of business owners on many consultative bodies. We have built a solid reputation, being influential in many areas of policy-making, in changing laws that affect small businesses, and we continue to campaign for the fair treatment of businesses within the UK. Everything we do is about making sure our members’ businesses operate profitably. This means that every penny we make goes back in to supporting our members, providing the support and resources that will enable businesses to flourish and grow.

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