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Pubs Code and Adjudicator

Pub tenants tied to big companies are being put out of business

Some licensees rent their pubs from a ‘Pub Owning Business’, sometimes called a pub company or PubCo. This system offers the licensee a lower monthy rent, but in return they are ‘tied’ to their PubCo and have to buy their beer at an inflated cost – with the PubCo acting as a middleman, and profitting from both rent and beer. Tied tenancies can make it far harder for licensees to see any of the profit their businesses generate.

After more than a decade of CAMRA campaigning, a Pubs Code and Adjudicator was created in 2016, to address the imbalance of power between Pubco’s and tenants.

The Code was introduced in England and Wales to ensure that tied tenants are no worse off than other tenants and can break the tie with their pub company in certain situations. There is a Pubs Code Adjudicator, who has the power to impose financial penalties on pub companies who don’t follow the Code, and arbitration powers to settle disputes between pub companies and tied tenants.

The Government is currently reviewing the Pubs Code. CAMRA is calling for fundamental changes to make sure that tied pub tenants get a fair deal from their pub companies.

Taking the campaign to Scotland

CAMRA supported Neil Bibby MSP, who introduced a Members Bill calling for a statutory Pubs Code for tied pub tenants in Scotland.

Hundreds of CAMRA members lobbied their MSPs to make sure that the Bill achieved the cross-party support it needed to be introduced in the Parliament and the Bill was passed successfully in March 2021.

This is a landmark moment for the rights of tied tenants across Scotland and CAMRA will continue campaigning to help ensure that the new Pubs Code and Adjudicator have the powers they need to support tenants.

Ready to learn more about Pub Companies?

Head to CAMRA Learn & Discover to find exclusive content from trusted industry voices and campaigners.

Read about the history of Pub Companies, who owns your local, and why it matters with CAMRA Campaigner of the Year, Paul Ainsworth, or join beer writer Jonny Garrett for a video on the beer tie and why it matters.

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