THE body responsible for enforcing the statutory Pubs Code in England and Wales has called on pub companies which are not currently waiving rent amid the coronavirus closure period to outline the support they are offering tenants.
The Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) and the deputy PCA said they are aware that five of the six companies regulated by the Pubs Code in England and Wales – the largest pubcos which each have at least 500 pubs – are among those which have not yet cancelled rent for their pub tenants. The Pubs Code does not regulate pubcos in Scotland, although a number have signed up to a voluntary code; and Neil Bibby MSP introduced the Tied Pubs (Scotland) Bill, which seeks to establish a Scottish Pubs Code, to the Scottish Parliament on February 3, 2020.
In a statement today (April 6), the PCA called on the pubcos which have not waived rent to “demonstrate how they will support every tenant for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency”.
“The COVID-19 emergency creates a threat to the livelihoods of tied tenants,” it said.
“Those tenants will need the support of their pub companies if they are to survive in their pubs and to return to profitability once the crisis has passed.
“The Pubs Code Adjudicator and deputy adjudicator are aware that five of the six pub companies regulated under the Pubs Code are amongst those who have not yet waived any rent for tenants of their pubs. These are the largest pub companies in England and Wales – each having at least 500 tied pubs.
“The PCA has made contact with all of the regulated pub companies. We are exploring what they are doing, and what more they can do, throughout this emergency period to support their tenants.
“While recognising that they are all facing their own uniquely difficult challenges during this period, there is an opportunity now for them to demonstrate leadership to the wider industry and to show that they will go as far as anyone to protect each tenant and how they will do that.”