The House of Lords has rejected a proposal from local authorities in London to force pubs and restaurants in the capital to openly exhibit their hygiene ratings, which currently are marked on a scale of one to five stars.
Hospitality industry bodies, which have lobbied against the proposals, described the ruling as a "triumph for common sense", although they cautioned that, with the bill yet to pass through the House of Commons, it could yet change.
The House of Lords agreed that any compulsory ‘scores on the doors' scheme should comply with the system recommended by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The Agency is consulting on two possible schemes: a four-tiered system with three stars and a fail rating; and a three-tiered scheme with "pass", "improvement required" and "fail" ratings.
Nick Bish, chief executive at the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, said the ruling was a "triumph for common sense". "These scoring systems offer nothing for the consumer and are a burden for business," he said. "This is also a triumph for intra-industry co-operation and it is a sign of strength that our trade associations can unite in the interests of our members."
Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive at the British Hospitality Association, added: "Obviously this is progress in the right direction but there are so many twists and turns ahead that it is perfectly possible that things could change."
By Kerstin Kühn
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