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Call for regulation change to help 'under threat' pubs

New measures are needed to enforce regulation governing the relationship between pub tenants and large pub-owning businesses.

A motion from council leader Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) was approved at a Royal Borough meeting at Maidenhead Town Hall on Tuesday, which called on him to write to the Watford MP, Richard Harrington.

His concerns relate to the Pubs Code Adjudicator, which regulates tenants which are ‘tied’ to the landlord – and obliged to buy drinks from them.

Mr Harrington, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Industry & Energy, will be implored by Cllr Dudley’s letter to raise the matter with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark MP, and Theresa May MP will be copied in.

Cllr Dudley said a ‘significant number of our pubs for various reasons are under threat’.

Speaking at the meeting, he said ‘very large’ pub-owning companies used debt to fund the purchase of stakes in watering holes before the late 2000s recession.

After, they found themselves in debt and now these ‘over-indebted financial entities’ were liquidating their assets, including pubs, Cllr Dudley added.

“Frankly, Government needs to sort this out,” he said.

His motion states the council is ‘concerned that the Pubs Code Adjudicator is failing to tackle the financial unbalance suffered by tied tenants in its borough and around the country’.

It adds that existing regulation ‘is clearly unable to offer tied tenants a simple and easy path to severing their tied terms, as was the intention of Parliament’.

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