Clause 13 - Arbitration awards available

Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:25 am ar 14 Rhagfyr 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

As usual, Mr Hosie, it is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship.

The clause sets out what awards an arbitrator may make following a reference to arbitration. It provides clarity to arbitrators and parties considering arbitration about the criteria for successful referral.

Photo of Seema Malhotra Seema Malhotra Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

It is pleasure to serve under your chairship, Mr Hosie.

Subsection (3) requires an arbitrator to dismiss a reference if they find that the tenant’s business “is not viable” and

“would not be viable even if the tenant were to be given relief from payment”.

Will the Minister say more about what constitute viable and unviable businesses? Groups representing the hospitality sector, for example, have made it clear that the seasonal nature of their businesses should be reflected in the viability test. As well as being provided with guidance, arbitrators should also have the right level of flexibility.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

I am happy to give the hon. Lady that assurance. The reason why we do not have a specific definition of what constitutes viability or affordability is that businesses models vary greatly, including with seasonality, and within and between sectors. Under clause 16, which we will consider later, we include factors that the arbitrator should consider when assessing the viability of the tenant’s business.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 13 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.