Tenanted pub operators have unsuprisingly welcomed today’s announcement that the Government has chosen not to push through with a statutory code governing the pubco/tenant relationship, as recommended by the Business, Innovation & Skills Committee (BISC). Meanwhile, pubco critics have been left disappointed. M&C Report outlines views from some of the main players below: Enterprise Inns chief executive Ted Tuppen Shares in the tenanted and leased pubco increased by 12.56% to 34.05p following this morning’s announcement. Tuppen said: “We are delighted that having examined the issues raised by the BISC, the Government has concluded that self-regulation in the UK pub industry can provide effective protection for individual publicans, and that the entire industry may now concentrate all of its energy and resources on the real challenges facing UK pubs without further distraction. At Enterprise Inns, we will continue to evolve the nature and content of our code of practice, our commercial agreements and our extensive range of support packages in order to enable us to compete effectively for the best publicans to run our pubs, and for ETI publicans to compete effectively in their local marketplace.” Simon Longbottom, managing director, Greene King Pub Partners “I am particularly pleased to note the minister’s support for the traditional tenancy. This is a strong and enduring business model where the interests of the tenant and the pub owner are aligned providing a platform of certainty on which local entrepreneurs can generate wealth and employment, whilst maintaining a much-loved community asset.” Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame “The minister has provided us with a substantial boost in confidence by ending the uncertainty surrounding the report’s recommendations and by explicitly supporting the traditional brewery tenancy and family brewers. We now repeat our call on the Chancellor to do his duty and cancel the damaging and unsustainable excise duty escalator imposed on one of the UK’s great manufacturing industries.” Paul Wells, chairman, Independent Family Brewers of Britain Wells, also chairman of Charles Wells, said: “The Government has provided a substantial boost in confidence for family brewer members, and their tenants, by ending the uncertainty surrounding the report’s recommendations and explicitly supporting the traditional tenancy model, as well as recognising that the brewery tie is vital for regional brewing.” Mike Benner, Campaign for Real Ale chief executive “The Government has been cavalier in rejecting the recommendations of the BISC and instead putting its faith in the ability of the very companies accused of malpractice to finally put their house in order. The lack of any formal public consultation on this package of measures is truly remarkable and suggests a failure of Government to listen to all interested parties including the consumer. We are pleased the Government has recognised the serious problems of unfair practice in the relationship between the large pub companies and lessees but deeply disappointed that they are proposing only a weak package of reforms. Given repeated broken promises from the pub companies, consumers and publicans will no doubt be highly sceptical whether much of this will be delivered. Pubs are vitally important not just to the millions of regular pub goers but also to the health of communities and the overall economy. The failure of the Government to secure a more substantial reform package is a massive blow to the Prime Minister’s aspirations to lead a ‘pub friendly Government’.” The BII “We welcome in principle these new proposals which have the potential to be a step forward in a number of areas. Proper monitoring of code compliance is vital, and BII will work with BBPA [British Beer & Pub Association] and other partners to secure an arrangement that we can all have confidence in, which stands as a suitable basis for ongoing code accreditation.” Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers strategic affairs director Kate Nicholls “We are obviously deeply disappointed that the Government has chosen not to follow the select committee’s route map to lasting, meaningful reform. We still believe that the options laid down by the committee represent the best means to deliver that and today’s announcement can only be a partial solution. Ministers have mapped out an alternative route but hand discussion over the content of the code back to the industry. This is critical and it must be rapidly and significantly strengthened and enhanced if it is to become a genuine industry document. It is also key that we clarify as a matter of urgency how company codes – as distinct from the industry code - are to be monitored and enforced. Failure to do so will mean there is a very real danger that the major pub companies will face less onerous obligations than they do at present. More can and needs to be done at an industry level to complete the package of reform – without that, the industry will not be able to draw a line under this most intractable of disputes and provide the much needed certainty and stability lessees need to invest, thrive and deliver the best consumer experience.” Brian Binley MP, BISC member “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. But more importantly with regards to the statutory code of conduct, which Business Secretary Vince Cable promised to enact they have totally reneged on their promise. I find that unacceptable as will many publicans and the whole of the select committee. The Government needs to recognise that publicans are amongst the leading opinion formers in this country and to renege on promises of this kind will harm the Government enormously in a wider sense way beyond the issues of our pubs network. It will impact upon people’s perception of the honesty of the Government itself. I am sure the BISC will be doing all it can to change this position and I beg the Government to rethink before it is too late.” Greg Mulholland MP, chairman, All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group “This is a quite baffling response from the Government, considering that ministers clearly signed up to the plan put in place by BIS [Department for Business, Innovation & Skills] in March 2010, which was to legislate and rebalance the industry if the pubcos failed to reform. There are clear questions of ethics here. Effectively ministers have been negotiating with one side of this long standing dispute, without the other side even knowing about it and haven’t even consulted with the majority of industry organisations about what should be in the codes of practice. Quite simply, coming up with a solution agreed only with the pubcos and their representative organisation makes the reforms illegitimate and the fact that the new mediation service will be pubco funded is farcical. I suspect it will not even be used by the vast majority of tenants who will see it as yet another pubco stitch-up.” Simon Clarke, Fair Pint “This will be a huge loss and devastating blow to tenants. The Government promised that if the select committee found the pub companies were left wanting, it would act on it. It makes it look like they have done something but they have done nothing of any material difference which is a bitter blow. It is a U-turn by the government. If what we are talking about is a weak code being put into a legal context and a conciliatory service funded by the BBPA, then it is bad news all round. We wait to see if they have left the door open for us to talk about a free-of-tie option.”