The British Beer & Pub Association is battling to withstand growing political pressure for a statutory code of practice covering UK pub companies.

Pub companies such as Punch Taverns and Enterprise Inns have already introduced a sector-wide, voluntary code of practice to cover dealings with licensees. Statutory regulation could increase their costs amid a turbulent time for the UK on-trade.

Kate Nicholls, secretary of the Independent Pub Confederation (IPC), which represents licensees, told MPs on the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) committee today (7 July) that self-regulation is “not working”.

The BIS committee is investigating whether pubcos have reformed, following three previous inquiries. The committee can make recommendations to government, but has no powers itself.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds rejected the IPC's claims. “We are on a journey and we are making progress,” she told the committee.