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23rd April 2013

New pub code of practice will reform the sector, says Forum

And fine equipped adjudicator should help restore the balance of power

The Forum of Private Business has welcomed plans for a new code of practice governing the pub sector, which includes a powerful adjudicator body to help solve disputes around so-called beer tie contracts.

The Forum said the move was the first step towards properly enforcing fairness in the sector, which has seen thousands of pubs across the UK close in just a few years.

The code would contain mandatory rules for all companies owning more than 500 pubs and would aim to stop abuses of the beer tie, which has been partly blamed for pub closures. Under the proposals, the adjudicator would have the all important power to enforce the code and deal with disputes through sanctions and fines.

“Reform to the pub sector is long overdue and we are delighted to see a consultation published today for an adjudicator in the sector,” said Forum spokesman Robert Downes.

“The pub sector is under a great deal of pressure and the big companies have not helped ease the pressure. This development should help restore the balance of power.  The adjudicator model, funded by the companies it investigates, is therefore a direct incentive for them to improve the current system too.”

He added: “Many publicans are trying to run businesses with both hands tied behind their backs due to the models they are forced to follow, so it’s really pleasing to see at the heart of the consultation that a tied licensee will not be worse off than the free of tie licensee. This is key to ensuring publicans have more autonomy to make their businesses a success.

“Pubs are small businesses and are an inherent part of the communities they serve, much the same as local shops are. We need to make sure they can survive and trade profitably on a fair and level playing field, and this seems the only way to achieve those conditions.”


Notes to editors


Images of key Forum spokespeople, along with the Forum’s logo, can be downloaded here


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Representing thousands of small businesses across the UK – including retail, service providers and manufacturing companies – the Forum is recognised by the Government as one of the six main business support and lobby groups. It uses this position to influence decision-makers in the UK and Brussels on the issues that matter to small businesses.


About the Forum of Private Business:


The Forum of Private Business is a proactive business support organisation focused on the growth and profitability of small businesses.


We offer a comprehensive package of member services to help you make money and save money. Whatever the challenges facing your business, we can help.


We are the business people – an extension to your team


Membership benefits include:


•           Significant savings on your business costs

•           Expert marketing and PR support

•           Access to finance and finance support services

•           Legal expenses insurance

•           Representation to Government

•           Unrestricted access to a business advisers helpline


For more information, visit or call 0845 130 1722.


Media contacts


Robert Downes

Media and PR Officer

Tel:      01565 626016

ISDN:  01565 654673

Mobile:            07775 756300