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Significant concerns have been raised about the relationship between large pub companies and the licensees within the pub industry.
Following a call for evidence in November 2012, ministers have determined that the initial self regulatory approach trialled in November 2011 has not resulted in the culture change that is needed. There is clear evidence that significant numbers of individual publicans are continuing to face serious hardship and difficulties in operating in this industry. This has also been highlighted by four Select Committee reviews since 2004.
In January 2013 the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and President of the Board of Trade, Vince Cable announced that the government will be consulting on establishing a strengthened, statutory code. This code would put into law an overarching fair dealing principle and the fundamental principle that ‘a tied licensee must be no worse off than a free of tie licensee’. It would also legislate for an independent adjudicator to oversee the relationship between pub companies and licensees. We will publish a public consultation on this issue in spring 2013.