The pubco model has nothing to do with the problems faced by some community pubs – that' s the view of Enterprise Inns chief operating officer Simon Townsend, writes John Harrington. Townsend, who was giving evidence at the Community Pubs Inquiry, also called for rate relief for pubs which provide facilities for the community. In the six months to April this year, Townsend revealed that 866 – about one in nine – Enterprise Inns pubs had been offered some form of rent relief or drinks discount to help them. "The tie, per say, in businesses such as ours has nothing to do with the difficulties faced by some pubs in general," he said. He said the tenanted and leased model allowed flexibility in economically challenging times. He urged the Inquiry to "make sure they don't connect things that are not connected". When pressed by Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland on the number of Enterprise lessees that had surrendered or forfeited their leases, he replied he did not know but that it was "not a significant number". Townsend suggested rate relief should be extended to pubs who provide facilities for the community such as for neighbourhood watch meetings, MP's surgeries or recycling.