Union in debate to ‘address exploitation of tied pub tenants’

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A UNION has blasted changes to the pub code, which it says wrecked aims agreed by parliament, and called on MPs to attend a debate on the matter.

GMB Southern, a union for tied pub tenants, urged MPs to attend the debate at the House of Commons yesterday.

In a statement, the union said that the debate should tackle the failure of the Pub Code that became law in July 2016.

The organisation said it will build a majority to ‘rid the code of the wrecking clauses’.

The statement said that it wants to ‘address the continued exploitation of tied pub tenants.’

The team believe that tied pub tenants are not getting a fair deal from pub freeholders, despite changes in the law.

The change came in 2014, when Parliament voted for a free of tie option known as the Market Rent Only option (MRO).

This law states that freeholders are obliged to offer a tied tenant option to buy drinks in the open wholesale market.

The organisation stated that this should have paved the way for fair rent for tied tenants, but said that 900 changes to the draft code have ‘wrecked’ or ‘unduly complicated’ the law.

Paul Maloney, GMB Regional Secretary for Southern Region, said: ‘GMB were part of a long and sustained campaign to secure this welcome change in 2014. It was a long hard struggle.

‘The recommendation of the 2009 inquiry was that statutory legislation should offer tied tenants a free of tie option.

‘Despite agreeing this the coalition government recommended further self-regulation.

‘The Secretary of State was required to produce a Pub Code to implement the new rules.

‘The 2015 election of a Tory Government led to the British Beer and Pub Association watering down the Code.

‘The Code that came into force in July 2016 had 900 changes in wording from the earlier draft. These changes either wrecked or unduly complicated the implementation of the original aims of the code.

‘This is a morality tale of the powerful brewers and property interests using its power and money to secure small print changes in the Code to frustrate what persistent GMB campaigning achieved in Parliament in 2014.

‘GMB tenant representatives report that, as a consequence the abuse of the tied tenant is worse now than at any time in the years GMB since sought a fair deal for tenants and pub users. This is a scandalous and not acceptable .