Tied pubs could get more choice

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A PROPOSAL to let pubs buy beer in an open market was heard at the House of Commons.

Pubs owned by a chain can only buy beer from the company’s selected brewers, while independent pubs can make their own choices.

The Tied Public Houses Bill was put forward by Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood in Parliament in a bid to change this.

The Bill is being backed by the leaseholder of two pubs in Southsea.

Barry Kewell runs the Northcote Hotel and the Rutland Arms in Francis Avenue, which are owned by Enterprise Inns.

Barry said: ‘We pay about £35,000 a year in rent and pay around £150 for every barrel of beer, so in a year it’s like we’re paying double rent. If we could buy from breweries then we could not be buying it from the company for an extortionate price and could choose which products we had.’ An Enterprise Inns spokesman said: ‘The majority of licensees acknowledge the role of the tie.

‘We have recently introduced a new lease offering free-of-tie options for drinks such as locally produced cask ales.’

The Bill will get a second reading in Parliament on June 10.

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