Pubco code of practice ‘isn’t helping tenant relations’

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MORE than two-thirds of tenanted pubs think a new Code of Practice – brought in to give them a fairer deal – will NOT improve their relationships with the pub companies that own them!

Last year, the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee advised that a revised Code of Practice should be put in place to help give tenants a fairer deal, as they were being crippled by high rents and beer prices.

But the Federation of Small Businesses say their statistics show nothing has changed and the code does not work.

In a survey of FSB members who run pubs, 69 per cent said they do not think the new code will improve the business partnership with their Pubco.

The publicans added that the code places additional responsibilities and financial burdens on the tenant.

Of those that have signed their Pubco’s Code of Practice, half thought it was intended to be a legally-binding contract for both sides.

Yet the code is only meant to act as an agreement between both parties to help improve their relationship.

The FSB wants to see small firms offered protection by making it a law, and that the code os written and overseen by an independent body.

Gordon Millward, Regional Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “For years now, lessees of tenanted pubs have been telling us they are being crippled – both by high beer prices and rents... which have to be passed on to their customers for them to survive.

“Things looked set to improve when the revised Code of Practice was put in place.

But our members have told us that it isn’t working.

“There are still 25 pubs closing every week. The closure of a pub does not just affect tenants and their families, but the wider community.”

He added: “Tenanted pubs are still not getting a fair deal from the Pubcos that own them – seven out of 10 do not think the Code of Practice will improve anything.

“The Government must fully enforce a Code on the industry and ensure it is overseen by an independent body.

“Until then we could see the pubs at the heart of our communities disappear forever.”