Norfolk landlords back government’s pub watchdog proposals

Nick Clegg at The King's Head, Letheringsett. Pictured with Norman Lamb MP and pub owner Chris Coubrough.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY Nick Clegg at The King's Head, Letheringsett. Pictured with Norman Lamb MP and pub owner Chris Coubrough. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Wednesday, January 9, 2013
7:57 AM

Pub landlords in Norwich have welcomed the government’s plans to introduce an independent adjudicator in the industry, which they say could save traditional pubs from closure.

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The government wants to establish a new statutory code, which will be enforced by an independent adjudicator, to look at the relationship between large pub companies and publicans, it was announced yesterday.

The aim of the code will be to ensure fair practices for issues including rents and the prices publicans pay for beer. The adjudicator would also have the power to investigate and deal with disputes between pub companies and publicans, and in some cases have the power to fine.

Dawn Hopkins, who spoke at a mass rally near the Houses of Parliament in November calling for the controversial beer tax/duty escalator (BDE) to be axed, said the move was encouraging. Ms Hopkins, who is the landlady at Ketts Tavern in Norwich said it would mean cheaper beer for the customers.

She said: “I’m pleased with the decision. I think that the pubcos have been allowed to get away with too much for too long. It will be easier for people to run their pubs. They are suffering at the hands of the pubcos with rents and the prices they have to pay. Hopefully it will stop so many pubs from closing. Pubs are in an incredibly difficult position at the moment.”

The proposed adjudicator will have the power to carry out investigations and impose financial penalties.

A six-week consultation on the government’s proposal will be held in the spring. Norwich North MP, Chloe Smith, who regularly holds her surgeries in pubs to support the local community, said she welcomed the action which would give landlords a fairer deal.

For more on this story, see today’s Eastern Daily Press.

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