Watkins asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations have been made to him about the proposals of brewing companies to increase the rents of public houses following decontrol.
I would refer my hon. Friend to my right hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Braintree (Mr. Newton) on 3rd March.—[Vol. 887, c. 342.]
I thank my hon. Friend for that illuminating answer. Is he aware that evidence has been brought to my attention that brewers are proposing increases of as much as 250 to 300 per cent.? Is it not therefore time that their monopoly was cracked down upon instead of being unleashed?
As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State explained on 19th December, the Government considered that the control of business rents was having an unintended effect on some parts of the economy. As for the general level of rents, particularly the example that my hon. Friend has given, I understand that a code of practice on tenant security, accepted by both sides of the licensed trade, provides for disputes which cannot be settled by negotiation to go to arbitration.