Government likely to defy business leaders on minimum wage rise Business secretary Peter Mandelson is expected to announce later this week that the national minimum wage will rise by a "relatively modest" among in the autumn. The decision will dismay business leaders, who have lobbied for a freeze on the basis that negative inflation has cut the cost of living while pay freezes and cuts have been widely imposed to save jobs. However, more than 100 MPs have signed a Commons motion tabled by former home secretary David Blunkett arguing that the current economic climate is an "opportunity to increase the spending power of the low-paid" which they can pump into the economy and help shorten the recession. - 10 May, Read the full article in the Observer >>
Enterprise Inns boss defends beer tie against critics Enterprise Inns boss Ted Tuppen has accused campaign groups of making "deliberately misleading" attacks on the beer tie. Campaigners such as Fair Pin and Kent publican Colm Powell, who went on a hunger strike over the beer tie last year, say tied tenants who are forced to buy their beer from the landlord have to pay more than free-of-tie businesses, making them uncompetitive. But Tuppen claimed the critics "fail to mention they are paying substantially less for their rent. That is the principle of the tie - because you are tied, you pay substantially less for your rent." Tuppen denied that the arrangements were inequitable, adding that tenants who negotiated directly with the company were fully aware of all the requirements in the contract, and had to have a business plan approved. However, Sunday Times reader Gilbert Bank of Stockport, disagreed, posting the comment "Really, Mr Tuppen. I didn't have a business plan approved. Enterprise contracts are more fait accompli than franchise." - 10 May, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>
MPs likely to call for loosening of beer tie
MPs are expected to call for a shake-up of the beer tie between pub companies and tenants when the Business and Enterprise Committee publishes its report into the beleaguered sector, Pub Company Power, on Wednesday. Under the tie, pub companies lease pubs to tenants in exchange for exclusive beer and drink sales which many tenants complain locks them into uncompetitive prices. Although rents have been kept low in the past, they have risen dramatically as costs spiralled. The report may demand a monopolies investigation but observers believe proposals to water down of the tie is more likely. - 10 May, Read the full article in the Independent on Sunday >>
By Angela Frewin
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