As Chair of the APPG for Pubs Toby has both hosted the CAMRA Reception and had a Meeting with the Minister for Business and Industry as a follow-up meeting to the debate of the 23rd of January on the Application of the Pubs Code.
On the 21st of February Toby attended a follow-up meeting with the Minister for Business and Industry on the Application of the Pubs Code.
Toby met with, the Minister for Business and Industry Richard Harrington, former BIS Select Committee Chair Adrian Bailey MP, the Pubs Code Adjudicator and the Deputy Pubs Code Adjudicator.
In this meeting, questions and concerns that were raised in the Westminster Hall Debate on the Application of the Pubs Code were put to the PCA and Deputy PCA.
These included the arbitration process, work being conducted on the current backlog of cases and arbitration vs adjudication.
Following the meeting, Toby said “I was encouraged by the DPCA determination to get more decisions made and to hear that there is a reduction in the number of elements of contractual disputes in recent adjudication requests. I was also pleased to hear an acknowledgement that the backlog and adjudication decisions were too big and that the DPCA does see an increase in ‘free of tie’ deals as a likely and desirable outcome”.
Whilst the Pubs Code has not yet had the desired effect, I left the meeting hopeful that it would be more robustly applied in the future.
On the 27th of February Toby joined CAMRA in hosting a Parliamentary Reception
The reception celebrated a freeze in beer duty, the extension of the £1000 relief in business rates and the More Than A Pub Programme.
The freeze in beer duty was announced in last year’s Autumn Budget, as a result of the freeze, a pint of beer is 12p cheaper than if prices had kept rising.
The extension of the £1,000 relief in business rates means that pubs will get £1,000 off their business rates bill if you’re a pub in England with a rateable value of less than £100,000. The relief is applied between the 1st of April 2017 and 31st of March 2018.
The More Than A Pub Programme is an Initiative set up to help community groups purchase their local pub. To date, they have helped 18 groups take ownership of their pub and they hope to help 80 in total with the fund.
Toby said “The pub industry is important economically and socially. There are still big challenges facing us, business rates are still too high, the highest corporate property tax in Europe and viable pubs are still under threat from property speculators and developers, this reception highlighted those challenges again, whilst celebrating the achievements too”.