Government must address dominance of Britain's largest pub companies

07 April 2008 by
Government must address dominance of Britain's largest pub companies

The Government has been urged to address the dominance of Britain's largest pub companies and refer the issue of rent and beer ties to the Competition Commission by MPs.

Liberal democrat MP Timothy Farron, backed by fellow Liberal Greg Mulholland and Conservative MP Peter Bottomley, have tabled an early day motion (EDM) claiming competitiveness in the pub sector is worse today than it was before the Beer Orders in 1989.

That Act, which broke the traditional tie between breweries and pubs, was intended to reduce the concentrated ownership of Britain's boozers and improve competition.

However, Farron claims Britain's three largest pub companies (Punch Taverns, Enterprise Inns and Admiral Taverns) now own between them a similar amount of pubs (20,000) as the three largest brewers before the Beer Orders.

The MPs have also accused Britain's pub owners of failing to adopt the recommendations of the Trade and Industry Select Committee made in 2004 and make rents sustainable.

As a result the MPs have also urged the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) to evaluate the practice of upward only rent reviews and to look at financial disparities between free houses and tenants tied to a beer supply.

Mulholland has also tabled an EDM in Parliament that describes the chancellor's increase in alcohol duties in the Budget last month as "a very ill-judged move".

Boss of Enterprise Inns slams Government >>

Pub closure rate rises in 2007 >>

Punch Taverns on the Beer Orders >>

Beer Orders on Wikipedia >>

Pub company Shepherd Neame unconvinced of merits of minimum pricing >>

By Christopher Walton

E-mail your comments to Christopher Walton here.

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