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UK: Pub sector facing tougher regulation

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The British Beer & Pub Association has said that it will resist any attempt to impose more regulation on the UK on-trade, after a Parliamentary committee recommended a legally-binding code of practice for pub companies.

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Pub companies have failed to properly regulate their own relationship with tenant landlords, the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (BISC) said late yesterday (20 September). It called on the Government to make good on its promise to open a consultation on a statutory code of practice for the sector, if requested by the BISC.

It is the fourth Parliamentary report into the so-called 'pub tie' arrangement between companies and lessees in the past seven years. With tens of pubs continuing to close down every week, BISC chairman Adrian Bailey MP said that the committee has run out of patience.

"On every occasion the industry was found wanting," he said. "The third report in 2010 delivered a final ultimatum to the industry: 18 months to show that they were working successfully within the voluntary code. That has passed, and the evidence is that they are not." 

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said that it will resist any efforts to impose a mandatory code of practice on the relations between pub companies and their landlord tenants. "We we are deeply disappointed with this report," said the BBPA's CEO, Brigid Simmonds. 

"The pub sector needs less tax and less regulation, not more, if it is to continue to create jobs and sustain much needed economic growth in our communities," she said. "It is a combination of the smoking ban, economic recession and the 35 per cent increase in beer taxation which the industry has endured since March 2008 which are the real reasons why pubs are closing."


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