Pub companies: follow-up - Business, Innovation and Skills Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

  I am writing to you in advance of the Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee evidence gathering meeting on 8 December to set out the Department's current position in relation to the Pub Company Report published in May.

  You wrote to me in July asking that we delay responding so that you could assess progress made on developments rather than have an incomplete reply.

  I believe that progress has been made over the summer. I am encouraged by the efforts that the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has made in responding to the concerns in the Pub Company Report. This includes producing enhanced guidance on pub rent valuations, a new benchmarking scheme and a code of practice. The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) is also amending its code to address a number of issues highlighted in the Report. This is concentrating on improving transparency, providing better and more complete information and a more open rent review process with redress for new and existing licencees.

  I have since met and listened to the views of a number of the parties that have an interest in the outcome of the report and are actively engaged in resolving the raised concerns.

  Many of the initiatives being taken forward including the revision of guidance and codes have yet to conclude. I believe, therefore, that at this stage it is too early to take a decision on whether Government needs to intervene.

  Once the Committee has taken all the evidence and concluded its investigations and reported we will then, subject to any other developments, formally respond. We shall be monitoring progress closely over the coming months.

8 December 2009

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