Enterprise Inns chief executive Ted Tuppen has attacked the Government for its "punitive and ill conceived" hike in alcohol duty.
Tuppen said that the alcohol duty rises announced in the budget would impact all responsible pub goers and do "absolutely nothing" to address the problems of binge drinking.
"Consumer confidence is low and, for most people, disposable income is under pressure," Tuppen warned.
"The global credit crunch has made many people concerned about the value of their homes and the cost of their borrowing, at the same time as seeing their disposable income shrink as a result of increases in taxation, food, fuel and utility bills," he said.
Enterprise remains locked in talks with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) over a proposed conversion to Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) status.
The pub operator and owner, which owns some 7,700 tenanted pubs, has been looking for HMRC to evaluate its definition of rent income in a REIT since the idea was first proposed in May.
REIT status reduces or eliminates corporate income tax for companies investing in real estate.
By Christopher Walton