Appointment of government pub code official called into question

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THE government has been criticised for pressing ahead with the appointment of a Pubs Code Adjudicator despite opposition from MPs and tenants.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said he disagreed with the view of the Business Select Committee that the process should be reopened.

The adjudicator is responsible for enforcing the statutory Pubs Code, which regulates the relationship between all businesses owning 500 or more tied pubs in England and Wales and their tenants.

In a letter to committee chairman Iain Wright, Mr Clark said: ‘The appointment process for the Pubs Code Adjudicator was run in accordance with the code of practice for ministerial appointments to public bodies.’

The panel considered whether adjudicator Paul Newby had conflicts of interest which might call into question his ability to do the job and concluded he did not, said the minister.

Some MPs and pub tenants had criticised the appointment because Mr Newby had worked with big pub companies.

Mr Wright said: ‘The government’s decision not to reopen the appointment process regarding the adjudicator is short-sighted and significantly jeopardises the ability of the Pubs Code to improve the soured and unbalanced relationship between pub companies and many of their tenants.

‘The committee does not question Mr Newby’s integrity or his qualifications for the job as adjudicator, but there remains a strong and clear perception of a conflict of interest among significant parts of the trade over which he will be adjudicating.’