Campaigners making their voices heard outside Parliament
The Forum of Private Business has welcomed the intervention of the chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, Rachel Reeves, in pressurising the Small Business Minister, Richard Harrington, to take action agains big pub companies.
The intervention follows the Select Committee hearing attended by the Pubs Code Adjudicator, Paul Newby, and his deputy, Fiona Dickie.
In writing to Richard Harrington, Rachel Reeves draws to his attention that,following the questioning at the Select Committee, there is evidence that pubcos are bullying tenant landlords into accepting poor terms.
She cites “substantial evidence from tenants that some companies are actively seeking to thwart the objectives of the Pub Code by failing to provide adequate information about the market rent only (MRO) process, and by employing tactics to delay or deter tenants in pursuing this option”.
Commenting on behalf of the forum, Dave Mountford said: “We have been working tirelessly at the forum to bring the matter of the poor behaviour of the pubcos to the attention of those in a position to do something about it.
“The acknowledgement of the Pubs Code Adjudicator in the Select Committee that the Pubs Code is simply not being followed by the pubcos has now put the issue fair and square in front of the Minister responsible for it.”
Ian Cass, managing director of the forum, added: “In bringing the disregard of the Pubs Code by the pubcos to the attention of the BEIS Select Committee, we have sought to be co-operative and constructive in establishing a fairer playing field for tenant landlords.
“We have seen several examples of landlords simply being forced out of their pubs by unreasonable behaviour and demands for sizeable payments.
“The Select Committee has taken its responsibilities seriously and we applaud the chair’s action in writing to Richard Harrington formally. The forum will continue to lobby on behalf of its tenant landlord members, and to work with the regulators to force the pubcos to meet their obligations under the code.”