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Is The British Pint Under Threat?

In a further blow to the large pub estates in the UK, such as Punch and Enterprise Inns, it has been confirmed that the government are launching a follow-up probe into the relationship between the pub companies and leaseholders. The 2004 investigation into the industry did throw up a few elements which needed addressing and many thought the issues had been resolved. However this does not seem to be the case.

Landlords have long complained that the leading pub estate groups in the UK can increase the rents payable at the drop of a hat, for no particular reason. There is also concern that under the terms of the lease landlords are forced to buy beer at inflated prices, far more expensive than the price they would expect to pay in the open market.

The recent fall in the share prices of Punch and Enterprise Inns is a reflection on the difficult market conditions with four pubs a day closing in the UK. This gradual reduction in the size of the market has forced the pub companies to review their charges and pricing structures on a regular basis.

There are real concerns that the government could step in with a formal code of practice for the pub companies, something which may put the good old British pint at risk.

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