On 24 January 2018, a Westminster Hall debate took place to assess whether the two main objectives under the Pubs Code:
- fair and lawful dealing by pub-owning businesses in relation to their tied tenants and
- tied pub tenants should be no worse off than if they were not subject to any tie
are being met, and, if not, what needs to be done. The debate, secured by Labour MP Adrian Bailey led to damning criticisms of the Pubs Code Adjudicator (“PCA”), Paul Newby.
In response, the newly appointed “Pubs Code policy” Minister, Richard Harrington MP, said that whilst the legislation makes it clear that the Secretary of State will carry out a review of the Pubs Code and the performance of the PCA every three years (with the first review period running from July 2016 to March 2019), the Government realises there is a problem, recognises the points made about the PCA’s performance) and “will not just ignore the situation until that time”.
Two days before the debate took place, the House of Commons Library published a useful “debate pack”, summarising the role of the PCA and the background to the Pubs Code. Both that and the PCA’s recently published Regulatory Compliance Handbook can be downloaded below.