Pub chain proposals aim for a fairer market

Hungry Horse

Plans to ensure large pub-owning businesses deal fairly with thousands of tied pub tenants have been announced by business minister Anna Soubry.

The first of a two-part consultation on a new Pubs Code sets out how the “market rent only” option will work.

It implements the principle that a tenant tied to a business owning 500 or more tied pubs should be no worse off than a free-of-tie tenant. Up to 13,000 tied tenants in England and Wales will be protected by the Code.

The second stage of the consultation, to be published soon, will cover the remaining elements of the Code.

Soubry said the proposals would “put the industry on the strongest possible footing”.

She commented: “Pubs are the lifeblood of so many of our towns, villages and high-streets, playing a vital role supporting our local economies. It’s not right that some tied pub tenants are unfairly overcharged by their landlords and the Pubs Code will help ensure they get a fair deal.”

The Pubs Code is designed to help ensure fair dealing for tied tenants while minimising as far as possible burdens on business.

At the same time, the proposals will not reduce the current level of tenants’ protections under the industry’s voluntary code of practice.

During the consultation period the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is seeking views, particularly from pub-owning businesses, tied tenants and their representatives.

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