It is important that pub tenants are given a fair deal and that there is a level playing field between tenants and pub companies. The Pubs Code, which aims to do just that, came into force in July 2016 and includes a ‘Market Rent Only option’ (MRO option), which enables tenants to buy beer on the open market rather than from their landlords.
However, there are serious questions about the effectiveness and implementation of the Code, as well as over the role and conduct of the Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA). The House of Commons Select Committee on Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for example, has raised a number of concerns about potential conflicts of interest of the current PCA, Paul Newby. I believe the government must look into these serious concerns and at how to increase the transparency and fairness of the PCA’s role. It is vital that the PCA is truly impartial and independent, so that pub tenants can be satisfied that the Code is working correctly.