GMB Accues BBPA Of “Hoodwinking” Ministers

28 Nov 2012

GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, today accused BBPA of hoodwinking BIS Ministers on two aspects of the self regulation Framework Codes in discussions with Government in 2011. This is based on evidence that has come to light from freedom of information requests. GMB drew this evidence to the attention of BIS officials at a meeting last week.
First BBPA did not make Ministers properly ware that changes in the codes they agreed to in response to 16 improvements sought by Ed Davey were already in place in Company codes.
Second BBPA did not make clear to Ministers that they were aware for two years that the question of the legal enforcement of the Codes was in serious doubt.
GMB advised BIS officials at a meeting last week that all the 16 “changes” negotiated by BBPA with the Government in response to improvements sought by Ed Davey, and outlined in their self-regulation package were already included in codes prior to the negotiations.
The 16 points were as follows:
-      Upwards Only Rent Reviews               -          were already in codes
-      Waiver Policies                             -          were already in codes
-      Timetable for pre-entry training           -          were already in codes
-      Timetable for information                 -          were already in codes
-      Insurance                                 -          were already in codes
-      AWP Machines                           -          were already in codes
-      RICS Guidance                           -          were already in codes
-      Rents and other complaints               -          were already in codes
-      Rents                                     -          were already in codes
-      Professional Advice                       -          were already in codes
-      Dilapidations                               -          were already in codes
-      BDM Training                             -          were already in codes
-      Price Lists                                 -          already sent to tenant.
-      Annual Statements of Compliance       -          already published on BII website

During their discussions with the BIS in September and October 2011, the BBPA informed Ed Davey that the Company codes of practice were legally enforceable and therefore the statutory legislation, recommended by the BIS enquiry of earlier that year, was unnecessary. The legal opinion the BBPA sought to rely on to persuade the Minster was that of Robert Howe, QC. Ed Davey explained that this was one of the main reasons for not needing a statutory response to the Select Committee report chaired by Adrian Bailey.
When meeting BIS officials last week GMB informed them that the BBPA had sought another legal opinion nearly two years previously, which contradicted the opinion given to Mr Davey.
Martin Rees of DLA Piper the highly respected London law firm wrote to Bridget Simmons on the 4th January 2010. In it, it states that “the Framework Company Codes cannot be directly relied upon by individual tenants or lessees, whose contractual relationship is with the Company”.
Dave Mountford Branch Secretary for the GMB at Matlock said “From replies to freedom of information requests it is now abundantly clear that the BBPA seriously hoodwinked Ministers in attempting to avoid statutory regulation, by stating it wasn’t necessary as it was already in force and including “improvements” in codes which were already in place and having no effect. GMB now discover that the BBPA had two conflicting opinions and chose to provide the Government with the one that suited their own case.
GMB calls on the Government to learn lessons and put in place a series of regulatory reforms to halt this continued abuse of thousands of individual’s lives and the destruction of a heritage for communities up and down the land.”
Contact: Dave Mountford 07794 021 212 or 01629 258 083 or 07916 154359