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1 February 2012
GMB CALLS ON DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND SKILLS TO ISSUE GUIDANCE TO LOCAL TRADING STANDARDS OFFICERS RE BRULINES EQUIPMENT
As Brulines equipment, when used to fine tenants, is covered by Weights and Measures legislation local trading standards departments now want guidance on this says GMB
GMB, the union for pub tenants, has written to Department for Business, Innovation and Skills asking for guidelines to be issued to local trading standards officers on how to apply Weights and Measures legislation to Brulines equipment when used to fine pub tenants. See copy of letter below.
In December Mr Davey the BIS Minister confirmed that the Government considered that Weights and Measures legislation did apply in when used to levy fines but it was for local trading standards offices to enforce the law. See note 2 below
Following this confirmation from Government a GMB member requested that his local trading standards department in Wandsworth enforce the law relating to the equipment in his pub. The trading standards officer has yet to get involved but told this GMB member “I will wait with interest to see if the National Measurement Office or BIS issues any formal guidance on this issue following the Minister's statement.”
Paul Maloney GMB national officers for pub tenants said “Mr Davey's statement has opened a can of worms for pubcos. Enterprise alone levied £10 million worth of fines last year based on a system we know to be inaccurate.
This places the local trading standards officers in very difficult positions as they are scared to death of being the one to bring down this house of cards. Consequently they are simply ignoring the issue by asking for “more guidance” on this matter which the minister is now reluctant to give.
GMB members have no intention of letting this drop. We will not go around in circles on this.
I have written to the Department asking for them to issue the guidance. They may refuse saying existing guidance covers this equipment or they may issue new guidance. Either way Trading Standards are duty bound to enforce the law. GMB will insist that they do as far as our members are concerned.”
Copy of GMB letter
Mr. Iain Mansfield, Senior Policy Official,
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
1 Victoria Street,
London SW1H OET
Dear Mr. Mansfield,
As you are no doubt aware the GMB has had a long standing interest in the plight of
Tied tenants, with many of our members suffering at the hands of Pub Companies, experiencing terrible examples of injustices.
We were gratified therefore when Mr Davey confirmed, what we have been aware of for some time, that of the issue regarding the Brulines system.
Many of our members have been penalised with ridiculous fines based on this system which has been comprehensively shown to be inherently flawed and we were therefore pleased that Mr Davey confirmed that, as Brulines was in use for Trade, it came under the remit of Trading Standards.
Unfortunately local trading standards departments have been extremely reluctant to become involved in this debate due to the lack of clarity from the minister and it would appear that it is necessary for clear guidance to all Trading standards officers regarding this issue - something they have been requesting.
I am sure, like the GMB you would support every effort to make sure that individuals have the right to trade without having barriers put in their way and it is clear that Tenants require the support of local authorities which they are currently reluctant to give.
I would be grateful if Mr Davey would therefore supply that guidance as a matter of urgency so that this confusion is cleared up once and for all.
Yours sincerely Paul Maloney GMB
2 Statement by Ed Davey on 6th Dec 2011
“I am told legally under the Weights and Measures Act, in general, that the Brulines equipment is not in use in trade if it is for monitoring purposes.
However, I am told now, in general, that when it is used, not just to monitor, but to actually go ahead and fine someone, the act of the fine, in general, means it is in use for trade.”