Heavitree criticises regulation

21 February 2006
Heavitree criticises regulation

Heavitree Inns, the Devon-based pub company listed on the Alternative Investment Market, has hit out at the new licensing system.

Company chairman William Tucker said he found it very hard to see any benefit to anyone resulting from the new system.

"Regulations and legislation will continue to be expensive and there is now the possibility of a ban on smoking in every pub in the country," he said in the results statement.

The company, which runs 100 pubs in the Devon area, had set aside £400,000 to pay for the costs of meeting new regulations which, along with the licensing changes, include the Disability Discrimination Act.

But the biggest problem for the chain is a pension black hole which ballooned from £1.4m in 2002 to £4.2m by 2005. The company warned that the precise liability figure had still not been pinned down.

Pre-tax profits at the group for the year to 31 October 2005 were £1.3m, down from last year's £1.59m. Sales were slightly up at £12.9m versus £12.5m in the previous year.

By Andrew Sangster

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