Government calls time on unfair practices that restrict pubs
The Government has announced a number of reforms to end unfair practices which it says have been holding back Britain’s pubs.
The proposals have been put forward by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and are in response to the Select Committee’s Report on Pub Companies.
They set out the details of a strengthened, legally binding Industry Code which it’s hoped will improve the relationship between pub companies and licensees.
A BIS statement highlighted the following elements of what will be a self-regulatory package:
- The Industry Framework Code to be strengthened and made legally binding
- The strengthened Code will focus on full repairing and insuring (FRI) leases. This will bring about immediate improvements in areas of concern, such as rent, insurance, training and dilapidations, combined with a commitment to discuss further improvements with industry
- A Pub Independent Conciliation Advisory Service (PICAS) to be set up to provide mediation and arbitration
- A three-yearly reaccreditation process for company Codes, achieved through examination of annual compliance reports and spot-checks
- A new Pubs Advisory Service (PAS) established to provide free advice to all prospective and current tenants and lessees
Ministers say the strengthened code will abolish the enforcement of upward-only rent reviews and force pub companies to be transparent with their lessees on issues such as charges for dilapidation repairs and income from gaming machines.
It will also ensure that lessees have the information and professional advice they need to negotiate fair rents with their landlords.
Consumer Minister Edward Davey said: "It gives the industry more certainty, which is vital to the success of Britain’s family brewers; and it gives pub-goers the knowledge that they are drinking a fairer pint down their local.
"The advantage of this self-regulatory approach is that it will deliver these reforms much more quickly than could be done through legislation.”
Please contact Steve Smith if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article.