Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill

Written evidence submitted by Reading Borough Council (SB 82)

Dear Sir/Madam

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill 2014-15

1.       I write in relation to the above and specifically to the proposals which seek to ensure that pub landlords receive a fair deal through the introduction of a statutory code and an Adjudicator. May I thank you for the opportunity to comment. The Council’s response has been endorsed by Councillor Tony Page, Deputy Leader and Lead member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport.

2.       This Council wishes to support the proposed Bill.  The Council is aware that public house businesses have been unfairly treated in the past and wishes to see legislative change to ensure a fair deal for tied publicans.  The Council wishes to support the views of CAMRA and the Federation of Small Businesses which essentially seek to ensure that the Code provisions relating to large pub companies will be consistent with the "no worse off" principle, in that tied tenants should be no worse off than non-tied tenants as a result of the tie. In their written submission CAMRA has requested that a Market Rent Only option is included in the Enhanced Code (applying to companies with more than 500 pubs) so that tenants of the large pub companies are able to choose between a tied and non-tied arrangement. The Council supports this view which will create a very powerful market incentive for pub companies to ensure that they offer tied agreements which allow small businesses to thrive.

3.       In support of the Bill we ask for assurance that the Adjudicator will have full authority to combat unfair rents and trade ties forced on lessees by pub companies.

November 2014

Prepared 13th November 2014