FPB questions why it’s taken 3 years, but welcomes the PCA’s first investigation


The Forum of Private Business (FPB) has welcomed today’s launch of the Pubs Code Adjudicator’s (PCA’s) first investigation, but are questioning why it has taken so long to do so.

The case, which is investigating the suspected use of unreasonable stocking terms by Star pubs and bars in proposed MRO (Market Rent Only) tenancies, is the first undertaken by the PCA since its launch 3 years ago.

This is despite calls for earlier investigations relating to other issues.

Ian Cass, chief executive of the Forum of Private Business, said: “The issue over stocking requirements as set out in the pubs code was raised when the code was first introduced 3 years ago as something that needed clarification.

“Surely government and the PCA should have realised that this greater clarification would be needed, when Heineken bought 1,900 Punch pubs in 2017, making it the third largest pub operator in the UK, something the Secretary of State for Business Greg Clark welcomed as “another significant vote of confidence in the UK economy”, because it would be obvious that Heineken as a brewer would be making this investment in order to sell more of their products.”

Earlier this year the FPB formally cut ties with the Pubs Code Adjudicator citing his failure to have made any move to resolve significant issues within the industry.

In a comment at the time, Ian Cass said: "Whilst we continue to make ourselves available to Mr Newby to provide evidence and to engage on specific issues if required, there seems to be no merit in simply joining a regular talk shop, and we have advised him that we believe that our time will be better spent lobbying the politicians directly where the influence may be greater as well as providing much needed information and support to new and existing pub tenants.”