An influential group of MPs called on the Government yesterday to bring forward a statutory code forcing the big pub companies to treat their tenants fairly as soon as possible.
The Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee said there should be no more delays in bringing through legislation that it first recommended two years ago.
The code would force pubcos such as Enterprise Inns to ensure that tied tenants are no worse off than competing non-tied publicans. In the past, tied tenants have complained that they are forced to buy expensive drink from the pubcos and face onerous tenancy agreements.
Andrew Bailey, the chairman of the committee, said: “The Government must now bring forward a Bill at the earliest opportunity and certainly no later than the start of the next parliamentary session.”
He added that tenants should be given the option to come out of any tied tenancy. He also called for more clarity on why the limit on the number of pubs owned by a pubco that will come under the code had been set at 500, and said there should be flexibility to change this.
Under the present plans, the new rules would apply to around six pubcos.
The committee also said the adjudicator of the new code should be given strong powers and not be left “toothless”.