Leading business support organisation, the Forum of Private Business, is heralding the announcement that the Pub Code Adjudicator is to step down as a victory after lobbying so hard to have him replaced by an independent industry expert with the interests of the tied pubs at heart.
The Forum has long claimed that Paul Newby, the current PCA, is conflicted, and is too close to the major PubCo’s to be able to deliver the key objectives of the Pub Code.
Of the attempt by the Government to create equal treatment for tied pubs as is enjoyed by free houses, through the enforcement of the Market Rent Option, and the removal of bad business practices for which the PubCo’s have been criticised, the Forum maintains that the Adjudicator has utterly failed to force any real compliance of the PubCo’s.
‘If anything,’ says Ian Cass, CEO of the Forum, ‘the situation has worsened during the past three years, with the PubCo’s using practices to circumvent the Market Rent Option that would not be tolerated in other parts of industry. In no way have we seen the Adjudicator successfully putting any pressure on the major PubCo’s to address the issues that materially penalise tied pubs, and it is well time that he stood aside to allow someone else to take over his role and do so. In his parting statement, Mr Newby actually acknowledges that he has not made the progress that was expected, and it is disappointing that it will still be a further nine months before he formally leaves the position. We have yet to see a single PubCo genuinely apply the Market Rent Option, nor have we seen any being forced to by the PCA.’
Put simply, Mr Newby has completely failed to achieve the Principle that “the tied tenant shall be no worse off than the free of tie” and the principle of “fair and lawful dealing” is further away than it was at the inception of the Code, as the Pubco’s use a variety of new, unfair business practices to thwart the legislation.
‘The Forum is calling on the Government to appoint a replacement who will have the experience, integrity and understanding of the key issues, to ensure that the objectives of the Pub Code are now properly enforced, and that the unfair treatment of tied pub landlords and landladies is properly addressed once and for all,’ adds Ian Cass.