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UK: Pub drinkers paying too much, report claims

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A dossier released this week claims that drinkers in UK pubs are paying over the odds for their drinks. The Federation of Small Businesses presented the dossier to the Commons Trade and Industry Select Committee yesterday at an inquiry into the allegations.

Companies such as Enterprise Inns and Punch Taverns own chains of outlets, and charge landlords a rent to run and trade from their pubs. The contracts, however, force landlords to buy their beers at high prices, known as the 'beer tie'.

If the Commons committee asks the Government to act against the tie, the average price of a pint of lager in UK pubs could fall to around £2.

The dossier uses a Punch tenant in North Wales as an example. The tenant said he paid the equivalent of 80.7p per pint of Carlsberg as a wholesale price, whereas if he had bought direct from the brewer, Carlsberg-Tetley, he would have paid only 41.2p a pint.

An Enterprise tenant in the South West said that he is expected to buy 24 bottles of Holsten lager for £22.86, with the free trade price being only £12.29. He also pays £102.94 for a barrel of Stella Artois, against £67 from an independent source.

The Federation claims that pub tenants are an average of £15,300 a year worse off because of the 'lock-in' clauses covering drink supplies.

About 40% of Britain's pubs are tied to major chains, with Enterprise having 8,843 and Punch 7,400.


Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: Carlsberg

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