Tied pub tenants will hold a protest outside the Birmingham-based offices of the Pubs Code Adjudicator on 15 March.
The demonstrators will be calling for Paul Newby, who was appointed as the Pubs Code Adjudicator in May 2016, to resign after “failing to implement the Pubs Code” which came into force in July 2016.
The Code gave the tenants the option to take the Market Rent Only (MRO) – which would enable them to buy their beer on the open market and pay a “reasonable” market rent.
However, according to the the Pubs Advisory Service (PAS), hundreds of tenants gave up on the process after Newby failed to make any decisions on referrals made to his office.
PAS also said that Newby has also failed to investigate the abuse of tenants; an issue which it says has increased in frequency since the Code came into effect.
Tenants will be manning a bar outside of the offices offering tasters of specially brewed beers: Empty Promises; Dark and Murky Conflict; and Bias IPA.
Chris Wright, founder of PAS said: “The fact that the Pubs Code has had absolutely no impact on the horror stories we are seeing, seemingly on a daily basis, demonstrates the complete contempt in which our new law is held by the pub companies, showing they have no fear of Paul Newby or the power he is supposed to carry.”
Dave Mountford of PAS who is organizing the demonstration added: “When MRO was voted into the legislation in November 2015, we felt we had achieved everything that was needed to finally provide tied tenants with a fair deal. Alas the government either deliberately or incompetently has put in charge, someone who has been part of the problem and then expected tenants to accept he will become part of the solution. Our justified fears about Mr Newby’s clear links to the industry he is supposed to regulate has been completely borne out by his actions or should we say, lack of them.”
A Pubs Code Adjudicator spokesperson said: “We understand that some members of the Pubs Advisory Service are planning to visit Birmingham on March 15. The Adjudicator hopes that they will take up the offer he has made repeatedly to meet and talk about making the Pubs Code work for tenants. We have offered the PAS a date for a meeting and an opportunity to discuss the agenda in advance; to date that offer has not been taken up. The door remains open and we would urge PAS to put hostility aside and meet for a constructive discussion.”
PAS launched in 2011 following the the Government response to the Business Innovation and Skills Committee Pubco report. It gives independent, free advice to all prospective and current tenants and lessees.