“The Pubs Code is failing the very tenants it was supposed to protect- we need real reform” say leading campaigners and the Forum of Private Business

A demonstration is due to be held in Parliament Square on Monday as part of a new campaign asking the government to review the Pubs Code legislation.

Seasoned campaigners from the pub industry have teamed up with the Forum of Private Business to highlight failures of the Pubs Code, and will demonstrate in front of Parliament on Monday May 14 at midday.

Campaigner David Mountford said: “Predictably the Pubs Code legislation has failed to achieve its two key principles. Whilst we recognise that after 18 months of inactivity under the watch of the Pubs Code Adjudicator Paul Newby, we now have an excellent Deputy Adjudicator in Fiona Dickie, the arbitration process has failed to set precedents that will stop the cycle of abuse that epitomises the tied business model. Reform of the legislation cannot come fast enough, whilst we still have pubs to save.”

The Pubs Code, which is a set of statutory regulations launched in July 2016, were supposed to manage the relationship between a tenant and pub owning businesses such as EI Group and Punch Taverns, but campaigners and Forum of Private Business believe the Code is failing the very tenants it was set up to protect.

The Government set a review date of July 2019 to assess the efficacy of The Pubs Code and the Pubs Code Adjudicator, the body set up to enforce the Code, but campaigners feel so strongly about the failure of the Code that they are seeking real action now.

Ian Cass, Managing Director of the Forum of Private Business, said: “It’s imperative that the Government step in early and strengthen the grey areas of the Code that are being exploited by the well-resourced pub owning companies. The current situation leaves the Code not fit for purpose.”

In recent weeks the plight of campaign members, whom the Code has failed, has been catching the attention of local councillors keen to question the Code and the impact it is having on businesses and communities within their own localities.

One such supporter is Lead Councillor for Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, Councillor Simon Dudley, who has written to his MP, Theresa May, highlighting the ongoing issues with pub companies and the failure of the Code.

As part of the “Protect Pubs” campaign, supported by various action groups and the Federation of Small Businesses, campaigners will be contacting MPs whose constituents are being failed by the Code to ask them to support the move to ask the Government to shore up the Code.

It will also be seeking to present a case to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy in July to ask them to bring the Code in line with its original intentions.


Notes for Editors:

Background information about the Pubs Code:

Select committee began the move for industry regulation in 2004

Select committee investigate failure of pub companies to self regulate in 2008

Pub companies given extra time to self-regulate

Select committee conclude that once again pub companies have failed to regulate effectively and give them extra time to sort themselves out in 2011

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills conclude again that pub companies have failed to meet standards of self regulation in 2014

Pubs Code first draft in 2015

Pubs Code launch in 2016

Pubs Code Facts:

There have been 216 cases since July 2016

There are 107 cases still outstanding since July 2016

Almost 50% of those cases have been without a final ruling for 6 months or more.

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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