FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Just 8 days into his job as New Pub Code Adjudicator Mr Paul Newby, is to be questioned by a BIS select committee, after the British Pub Confederation, the Forum and others questioned his impartiality.
"We welcome his appearance in front of the committee as many of our members from the hospitality sector have contacted us asking how Newby's appointment can be argued as independent, as their seems to be a clear conflict of interests.” Says Forum managing director, Ian Cass .
“Our members and other industry groups have been astonished by this appointment as Mr Newby is a director of a company that derives the majority of its income from the very companies the pub code legislation is intended to regulate. Over the last 20 years he has been engaged by many of these companies on issues like rent review matters and in selling off pubs," Ian continued
"How can he be impartial, given that for 20 years his salary has been dependent on those he must now adjudicate on and potentially impose financial penalties on? Then at the end of his 4 year tenure as pub code adjudicator, we presume he will go back to that same company and continue in his role there.
"We hope that the select committee will take the opportunity and get to the bottom of this seeming conflict of interest, by asking Mr Newby to explain any interest he still has in Fleurets and whether he expects to once again derive the majority of his income from the large pub companies when his tenure is over. Britain’s pubs play a large part in our culture and heritage and the Trade deserves a fair code to protect it and an adjudicator who is trusted and respected by the whole industry,” Ian concludes.
Notes to Editors
Newby will take up the role of PCA on 2 May for an initial term of four years and will be responsible for enforcing the Pubs Code - new legislation that will govern the relationship between large pub-owning businesses and tied tenants in England and Wales. He will appear in front of a BIS select committee on 10 May at 9.30am.
Currently 28 public houses close a week
In 2011 88 per cent of tied publicans who claim to be financially struggling identify the beer tie as one of the most significant factors in their financial problems
The adjudicator is estimated to cost £540k to set up and then £1.75m a year to run.
The average rent on a new lease is £29,593 - but this doubles to £61,000 in London and accounts for 8.4% of projected turnover. The estimated profit before rent is estimated at 17-19% depending on pub type, implying a limited income for successful landlord with a fair contract.
The same people that appointed Mr Newby will be appointing the Small Business Commissioner later in the year, a position that the Forum believes needs an extremely dynamic individual to overcome the limitations of the role.
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