The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (BISC) is to question business minister Ed Davey on the Government’s decision to reject BISC’s call for a statutory code of practice governing the pubco/tenant relationship at an upcoming hearing. The meeting is scheduled for 10.30am next Tuesday (6 December) at Portcullis House in Westminster. Interested parties have until 5pm this Thursday (1 December) to submit written evidence in advance of the oral hearing. Members of BISC are understood to be angry that the Government, in its response to the damning BISC report, chose not to implement a statutory code of practice overseen by a code adjudicator in favour of strengthened self regulation. BISC MP Brian Binley said: “The Government has sold out to the devil on the question of publicans’ rights. They have tinkered with the brakes when a total overhaul of the steering is required.” Writing on the blog site Liberal Democrat Voice today, Davey defended the Government’s response to BISC, which was unveiled last week. He said: “While I’ve not delivered government regulation, I have delivered a self-regulatory regime so much stronger than the past, that it looks and feels like a law – but it’s actually been delivered, and at least two or three years faster than an Act of Parliament would have done.” Davey said the Government’s response is “a balanced package, to preserve what is best about the industry, and to clean up what has at times been quite outrageous”. He gave examples of the positive actions being proposed. Making the industry’s code of practice legally binding is the “self-regulatory version of a statutory code”, Davey said, while the new independent mediation service will be “a regulator in all but name”.

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