Immovable pubco, irresistible BISC

The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (BISC) tenth report on pub companies makes for pretty grim reading. There's a litany of intransigence surrounding pubco reform and their Code of Practice - "inability to deliver meaningful reform", "unable to enforce adherence", "this latest attempt at reform has failed". But it's just as grim to imagine that the pubcos were going to roll over and let BISC tickle their bellies.

If I were a lessee, feeling shafted by pubco tactics, I'd want to see everything changing.

If I were a pubco boss, with a property portfolio to manage and make an investment return on, I'd want everything to stay the same.

The report concludes that Government should now consult on a mandatory, enforceable code of practice for pubcos and their dealings with their lessees. Expect that one to run and run for a few more years yet.

Truth is, there's no such thing as immovable object and an irresistible force. Pubcos will, eventually, submit to a system of (I'm guessing) self-regulation that satisfies Government. BISC, or whoever takes on their mantle the next time the political landscape changes, will agree to a compromise.

After all, an immovable object would have to have infinite inertia. Which would then collapse under its own gravity and create a black hole. I know some people have suggested that it would be a fine way for Ted Tuppen to go, but even he can't alter the laws of physics. Surely?

One more thing. The report calls for "all existing lessees and all new lessees should be offered a free of tie lease with an open market rent review based on RICS guidance." What about those pubs operated by The Independent Family Brewers of Britain? The beer tie is integral to their business model. Who's got the stomach to argue that long-standing, family-run, family-investment-led breweries ought to be put as risk of closure by wider reform?

Difficult questions. I expect there will many more years of intransigent answers to come.