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Pubs Code

Volume 659: debated on Tuesday 30 April 2019

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will today begin the statutory review of the pubs code (the code) and the pubs code adjudicator (PCA) through the launch of an invitation to all those with an interest to feed in their views and experiences of the operation of code and the effectiveness of the PCA.

Pubs are a vital part of communities across the country. The Government have been supporting them through freezing beer duty, cutting business rates for many pubs and supporting community pubs through changes to planning law and by funding Pub is the Hub’s pub diversification work.

The establishment of the pubs code was provided for by the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (“the Act”) and is set out in the Pubs Code etc. Regulations 2016. The code governs the relationship between large pub owning businesses and their tied tenants, giving tenants certain rights, including the right at certain times to exercise a “market rent only” option, under which their rent is set at the market level and they are no longer required to buy products from their pub owning business.

The pubs code adjudicator (“PCA”) was established by the Act and is appointed by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The role of the PCA includes giving advice and guidance; the investigation of non-compliance with the code; where non-compliance is found, requiring publication of information, imposing financial penalties or making enforceable recommendations; and arbitrating disputes under the code.

Section 46 of the Act requires the Secretary of State to review periodically the operation of the pubs code and section 65 of the Act requires the Secretary of State to review periodically the adjudicator’s performance. The review will look at the period from the establishment of the code and the PCA to 31 March 2019.

The invitation to submit comments and evidence will run for 12 weeks and can be accessed through gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/pubs-code-and-pubs-code-adjudicator-statutory-review). Stakeholders have until 22 July 2019 to respond. Following this, BEIS will analyse the responses and other evidence as set out in the terms of reference. A report on the findings of the review will then be published as soon as practicable and laid before Parliament by the Secretary of State.

The terms of reference for the pubs code and PCA reviews will today be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

[HCWS1529]