'The Secretary of State may by regulation declare a monopoly situation to exist in any local authority area of the United Kingdom where more than 10 per cent. of the public houses in that area are restricted to the sale of any one brewer's products'.—[Mr. William Hamilton.]

Brought up, and read the First Time.

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Mr Willie Hamilton (Fife West)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a second time.

I shall try to couch my language in my typically moderate way. We discussed this question in Committee on 10th April, when I quoted in aid the report of the Monopolies Commission on the supply of beer—Command 216—which was published in April 1969. I should like to quote from it again. In paragraph 414, the commission said: … in England and Wales … the tied house system operates against the public interests and … a remedy for the defects of that system is called for. It also said in paragraph 383: The choice offered in brewers' public houses is such as to enable each brewer to avoid exposing his own beers to the competition of other brewers in his own houses except to a limited and controlled extent … competition is concentrated upon amenities because price competition is largely absent and because the brewers' attitude to retailing affects the attitude of the tenants. It is clear that the tied house is not in the interest of the consumer. It adversely affects him in more ways than one. We have had that report for over four years. We have had no debate on it in this House. We have had no action whatever by the Government on its recommendations. In other words, four years have gone by and nothing has been done to remedy the abuse that the commission exposed in the supply of beer.

It is true that the report went on to say that the difficulties which the commission had found in the tied house system might be remedied by substantial relaxation of the licensing system in England and Wales. Scotland is being dealt with by another committee of inquiry. In paragraph 416, the commission said: We recommend that, by way of remedy for the defects which we have found in the tied house system in the United Kingdom, the licensing system in England and Wales should be substantially relaxed, the general objective being to permit the sale of alcoholic drinks, for on or off consumption, by any retailer whose character and premises satisfy certain minimum standards. We are not in a position to specify what the minimum standards should be or how they should be administered or precisely what other relaxations (e.g. as to flexibility of opening hours, access by children) might be necessary and advisable. We recognise that these are matters which would call for consultation between the departments concerned and for the approval of Parliament. I do not think that there is any denying that a monopoly situation exists in the supply and the sale of beer. Paragraph 14 of the report related to the situation as it was in 1967, and, of course, the position has got steadily worse in the concentration of the supply and retailing of beers. It said: Seven brewers, operating some 70 of the 240 breweries in the United Kingdom, together accounted for 73 per cent. of total United Kingdom production of beer in 1967. It went on to list the "Big seven" as they then were. There have been amalgamations since which I related to the Committee.

Not only has the monopoly situation intensified, but the quality of the beer has declined—at least so I am told, for I am not a major consumer of the product. This point was challenged in Committee by the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Skeet). I invite him to look at the foot of page 10 of the report, where he will find that the beer has indeed got weaker. There is a lot more water in it than there was.

The average original gravity of beer fell from 103753 in 1963 to 103715 in 1968. There is a good deal of evidence to show that some of the beers now being sold as beer are little stronger than lemonade. The brewers are doing this precisely to get young people to start drinking and then get them on to the harder stuff as they get older and become more used to the taste. The brewers refuse to declare to the consumer the original gravity of the beer, although Northern Clubs Federation Brewery does—that is the working men's brewery.

The substance of new Clause 4 concerns the local monopoly position and I quote in aid paragraph 176 of the report, which dealt specifically with the local monopoly situation. It said: Apart from small villages where the single public house has a monopoly, there are a very few larger areas where the great majority of the public houses are owned by only one or two brewers. In the County Borough of Bristol, out of a total of 517 public houses, 461 are owned by brewers and over 90 per cent. of these are owned by Courage, and Courage is the major supplier of beer to the free trade in that area also. Clearly, there is a monopoly situation in Bristol. It added: In the County Borough of Birmingham, 729 of the 815 public houses are owned by the two brewers, Bass (with 422 houses) and Allied (with 307 houses), and these two brewers are also the major suppliers to the free trade, which includes some 400 registered clubs and 86 public houses. That is the substance of the new clause which I am seeking—

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Mr Ronald Brown (Shoreditch and Finsbury)

Would my hon. Friend not agree that the monopoly is being exacerbated by the brewers deliberately removing licensees from public houses and putting in their own managers to make sure that they have absolute control?

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Mr Willie Hamilton (Fife West)

I am coming to that point. My hon. Friend the Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. Stallard) has introduced a Bill to try to protect tenants from eviction. This position was one of those which the brewers undertook to remedy in 1970. They have gone in the reverse direction. The Minister knows that. The right hon. and learned Gentleman who is in charge of the Bill called in aid the declaration of intent that the brewers made in December 1970. Far from carrying out their promises, they have gone back on them.

The increase in the number of tied houses between 1962 and 1972 has been quite remarkable. I quoted the figures in Committee. I will not bother the House with them again, except to say that Bass Charrington, who linked up between 1962 and 1972 had 3,665 tied on-licences in 1962 and in 1972 the number had risen to 9,225. Courage, who had 1,042 tied houses in 1962, had nearly 5,998 in 1972. There is abundant evidence that the number of tied houses increased substantially in that period.

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Mr Alfred Hall-Davis (Morecambe and Lonsdale)

I think the hon. Member knows that I have an interest in this matter, and I shall declare it. Is the hon. Member suggesting that, of the totals he quoted, the houses were not tied previously and that this is not just an aggregation through a merger? There may be an argument to deduce from that, but it does not surely imply that there has been an increase in the number of tied houses as such.

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Mr Willie Hamilton (Fife West)

That may be so. I am glad that the hon. Member has declared his interest, because I will declare some others in a short while. Not my own. I have none.

When the Minister replied to me in the debate in Committee, he quite fairly reminded us that the Monopolies Commission had expressed its considered view that there were no practical alternatives to the tied house system within the framework of the existing licensing laws. He said that it was not within the Commissions' purview to recommend alternatives unless there was some liberalisation of those laws.

That being so. the Government set up the Erroll Committee to investigate the licensing laws. Its report has been in the hands of the public for some months and in the hands of the Government for much longer. We have had no action by the Government. In his speech on that occasion the Minister quoted in aid the statement made by the Brewers' Society on 1st December 1970 by saying what actions it was taking to overcome the deficiencies of the tied house system. I have a copy of that statement. I do not know whether my hon. Friend the Member for Shoreditch and Finsbury (Mr. Ronald Brown) has seen this. These are the proposals made by the Society to keep away Government action in dealing with the abuses connected with the tied house.

6.0 p.m.

The second paragraph of the statement reads: Security for tenants.The Society has already made recommendations which have been accepted by its members, and by the retail trade for the granting of longer-term tenancies to brewers' tenants. We know that exactly the opposite is happening, that the tenants are being removed and managers are being put in. The purpose of the Bill which my hon. Friend the Member for St. Pancras, North has introduced is to stop this kind of thing. The statement went on in paragraph 3 to say: Ownership of licensed premises.The Society is aware that concern exists about the large proportion, in particular places, of licensed premises owned by one brewer. The Government has asked for information on this subject and for proposals from the Government to widen the choice to the public in such places. The Society is providing this to the Minister at an early date. That is the statement made nearly 3 years ago by the brewers. I ask the Minister: what information has been given by the Brewers' Society to him about proposals for widening public choice in conformity with paragraph 3 of that declaration of intent of December 1970?

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Mr Ronald Brown (Shoreditch and Finsbury)

Is my hon. Friend aware that two years ago I went to the Department of Trade and Industry and drew to the attention of the Under-Secretary's predecessor my concern about this issue? I finally tabled a Question to the Prime Minister. It is true that the right hon. Gentleman sacked the former Under-Secretary and appointed the hon. Gentleman but nothing has been done in the way that my hon. Friend is asking.

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Mr Willie Hamilton (Fife West)

I am sure that that is true. I want confirmation of it from the Minister. Either he has the information and is withholding it for party reasons or he has not got it, in which case the brewers are ratting on the statement of 1970. There is evidence available which can be substantiated and which in some cases has been registered on the files of the Department of Trade and Industry to illustrate that the operation of the tied house system is against the public interest.

The restrictive ownership of licences in conjunction with the operation of the tied house system is considered to constitute a monopoly operating against the consumer interest. We want to abolish the tied house for all non-beer drinks. We want to refer automatically to the Monopolies Commission any acquisition or mergers by brewers that would increase their holdings of licensed outlets. Answers given to my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) a few months ago showed that mergers are going on at an ever-increasing rate in the trade. We ask that the Government should automatically refer to the Monopolies Commission any acquisitions or mergers which would increase their holdings of licensed outlets.

Failing the abolition of the tied house system for all non-beer drinks the Government should obtain an undertaking from individual members of the Brewers' Society to honour the recommendation made by it in December 1970. The Government have shown absolutely no interest whatsoever in these matters. They mouth phrases about the efficacy of competition. This Bill repeatedly refers to competition being the extra protective armour for the consumer. We have seen what a nonsense that is during the last few years.

We would not have had this Bill if the Government believed that competition was a protection for the consumer. There is no industry that is less competitive than the drink trade. The price of beer has gone up as the strength of the beer has gone down. No one in the Government has done anything about it. The Government have sat on their bottoms because their election coffers are filled by the brewers. I have already put these facts on the record but let me do so again.

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Mr Trevor Skeet (Bedford)

The hon. Member is talking about this being the least competitive industry. The National Coal Board is a complete monopoly. There is no competition there.

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Mr Willie Hamilton (Fife West)

The hon. Member can talk about the board here. Every year he can ask questions and initiate debates on the coal industry because it is publicly accountable. Brewers are publicly accountable to no one.

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Mr Joe Ashton (Bassetlaw)

Is my hon. Friend aware that anyone can sell coal without a licence, irrespective of whether he is over 18, and at any hour of the day?

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Mr Willie Hamilton (Fife West)

We are not talking about coal. We are talking about beer. We are talking about the brewers, the paymasters of the Government. I will quote the sums of money that individual brewers gave to the Conservative Party for the 1970 election. The Government won the 1970 election on drink money. One of the greatest curses of Britain today is alcoholism and this Government rode to power on the money given by the brewers. They are there because of the great social curse created by their paymasters.

The figures make interesting reading. In 1968 Allied Breweries gave either to the Tory Party or its front organisations more than 1,200. In the same year Arthur Guinness and Son gave 16,700 and in 1969, nearly 17,000. Bass Charrington gave—Oh! They are a miserable lot. They are fairly mean. They gave just 100. A nominal sum. Boddington Breweries—I do not know what happened to it—gave 500 in 1968 to the Tory party and 100 to the Economic League. Courage, Barclay and Simmonds gave 850 in 1968 to the Conservative Party and the Economic League, the front organisation. In 1969 it gave 15,627 to the Tory party and 788 to the Economic League. Hardy's Kimberley Brewery—God knows where that is——

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Mr Willie Hamilton (Fife West)

With great respect, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I am pointing to an extremely important social and economic curse and to a corruption very near to Watergate in America.

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Mr Edward Mallalieu (Brigg)

All that the hon. Gentleman says may be true. What has it to do with monopolies?

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Mr Willie Hamilton (Fife West)

It is true, not "may be true". It may be out of order but it is certainly true.

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Mr Edward Mallalieu (Brigg)

The hon. Gentleman has not answered my question. What has it to do with monopolies, which is the essence of this new clause?

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Mr Willie Hamilton (Fife West)

The breweries who are giving all this loot to the Tory Party are monopolistic suppliers and retailers of a product.

I am seeking to destroy the monopolistic powers of these individuals. That is the purpose of the new clause. I want the Minister to say that where there is a local monopoly in the supply and retailing of beer he will refer it to the Monopolies Commission. I am trying to point out the abuses connected with that monopolistic position. One of the abuses is that the breweries supplied a great part of the funds of the Tory Party with which that party won the election. That is why it is not acting. That is why it will not accept this clause. The Minister will say that the Government are waiting for Erroll; they are having consultations. Let me tell the Minister that the Erroll recommendations go even further than the brewers' ones. Erroll himself was a Tory Minister. I do not say that his report was biased on that account, although it might have been, but certainly the brewers have been very grateful for the recommendations of the Erroll Committee.

One of the monopolistic brewers that I want to deal with is Watney Mann. In 1968 and 1969 Watney Mann gave the Tory Party 50,000.

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Mr Edward Mallalieu (Brigg)

The hon. Gentleman must not pursue that line any further. It really has nothing to do with monopoly.

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Mr Ronald Brown (Shoreditch and Finsbury)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. May I draw your attention to the fact that I saw the Government about the very matter that my hon. Friend was going to pursue and they agreed that it was a monopoly at that time, but refused to act? I think my hon. Friend has the right to proceed with that point.

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Mr Edward Mallalieu (Brigg)

I did not say it was not a monopoly. What was being put forward was that it is because of a monopoly that funds are or are not going to a political party. That is why it is not in order on the clause.

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Mr Willie Hamilton (Fife West)

You are familiar with these arguments, Mr. Deputy Speaker. You were Chairman of the Committee when we dealt with the denationalisation of the State pubs by this Government, when I made pretty much the same kind of point. Whenever we get the opportunity we endeavour to pursue these things. We try to keep in order. We appreciate your tolerance in allowing us to pursue these matters, but not too far. I just said those things in parenthesis.

I will leave the point there and tell the Government that if they are serious about abuses of monopolistic practices, one of the most serious abuses occurs in the drink trade. The Bill provides specifically for dealing with local monopolies. There is a special clause dealing with local monopolies and I am trying to define more closely what is meant by a local monopoly, with specific reference to the drink trade. In any local area where more than 10 per cent. of the pubs are owned by and sell only the products of one brewer, a monopolistic situation should be declared that ought to be referred to the Monopolies Commission. That is all I am saying.

I simply want the Government to tell us when they are going to allow a debate on Erroll, when they are going to say what their intentions are, whether they are going to accept the view of the Monopolies Commission that this problem can and should be dealt with by reference to the licensing laws. Then the debate on this clause will have served a useful purpose. But I am pretty sure the Government will say they are not going to do anything about it, because their paymasters are important to them and they had better not offend them too much.

6.15 p.m.

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Mr Trevor Skeet (Bedford)

I do not think any Government in their senses would adopt a clause of this nature. It is well known that the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) has a vendetta against the breweries. He thinks that everybody has an interest in breweries. I suppose I should declare my interest. I like a glass of a beverage from time to time, but that is all my interest in breweries amounts to. I am not going to support them any more than to say that I think this vendetta is directed at an entirely wrong goal.

Let me have a look at one or two of the suggestions that have been made. The hon. Member for Fife, West belongs to a party that supports the nationalisation of various industries—coal, electricity, transport, and so on. They are complete and utter monopolies. Indeed, we have very little say in them. The public have no say whatever, except to account for their losses through taxation.

If the new clause were accepted there would be a monopoly situation if there were more than 10 per cent. of tied houses. That is all they would be allowed to have. On the other hand, the State can have a 100 per cent. interest and nobody must complain. So we have the extraordinary position that the Labour Party is prepared to harry the private sector but is prepared to vest all sovereignty in the State and give it supreme power in other industries. Indeed, we find in the absurd party manifesto that it wishes to take an interest in 25 of the 100 leading companies.

I think the public have enough common sense to see through these recommendations and to realise what disaster it could lead to if there were State capitalists as opposed to the competitive private enterprise which now exists.

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Mr Joe Ashton (Bassetlaw)

Is the hon. Member aware that with State monopolies there is always a consumers' council, and invariably tribunals to which the consumer can complain, and the outlet of Parliament and public accountability, with the accounts open to public scrutiny? That is not the case with breweries.

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Mr Trevor Skeet (Bedford)

The hon. Member well knows that many members of the public have found that although their complaints have been examined they have received very little satisfaction. As for accountability, we have an opportunity once a year of debating this matter.

I do not want to go beyond the amendment, but I have been led into this point. It has been argued that these are very important matters, and that this amendment should be subscribed to by hon. Members. When have the Opposition applied for a Supply Day to deal with either the Erroll Report or the Monopolies Commission Report of 1969? It just shows the importance of this topic in their minds.

The amendment would expose the brewing industry in the private sector—once it exceeded 10 per cent. of the market—to all the detailed procedure of the State machine, plus all the expense involved, and that would have to be added to the price of beer. Therefore, the consumers would suffer. In Clause 10 we provide for monopoly reference. Clause 7 provides that a monopoly condition will exist if one company has approximately 25 per cent. of the market. If the general ruling is that a monopoly position is created by 25 per cent. of the market, why should a monopoly position be created in a particular industry when there is only 10 per cent. of the market? That would create a very dangerous precedent, which could be extended. I do not think that anybody in the House would contemplate such a situation.

There is some concern about the recommendations in reports. There are two before us now for consideration. I dare say something will be made of the tied house system. Suffice it to say that that system is quite compatible with the situation in Europe.

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Mr Trevor Skeet (Bedford)

These are important matters. I was only observing that although the Opposition complain about the European situation, they are not even represented there. But the tied house system does extend to Europe and we are part and parcel of Europe. This Bill is part of the legislation which we hope to be able to extend to our fellow Europeans in future years. However, I will take your guidance on that point, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and will not refer to the European situation, except to say that the tied house system is quite acceptable in European countries provided it does not extend over the territorial State limits.

Coming back to the main theme, we should subscribe to the provision in the Bill that once the proportion exceeds 25 per cent. of the market a monopoly situation can be investigated. To reduce that proportion to 10 per cent. would be inequitable to the private sector. If there were a challenge on the basis of fair competition, quality of products, reasonable prices and standard of service, there might be a tenuous argument for reducing the figure from 25 per cent., but it would be absurd to do that on any of the arguments which the hon. Member for Fife. West adduced, none of which is valid.

I recommend the Minister not to accept the clause. It is not in the interests of the consumer or of the country. The right way to deal with this matter is to follow the recommendations of the Erroll Report and extend the licensing system.

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Mr Michael Cocks (Bristol South)

The hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Skeet) complained that the Opposition had not chosen to debate the brewing industry on Supply Days, but so assiduous has been my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) in pursuing this question throughout the years that it has not been necessary to do so. I am glad to support the clause.

Brewers are blatantly in the brewing business to make money, but it must be remembered that a great many people—particularly the elderly—often of limited resources, go to the public house because it provides them with the opportunity for social contact. For many people a visit to the public house once or twice a week is their main contact with their fellows, and they should be protected against exploitation by a monopoly.

The hon. Member for Bedford objected to the 10 per cent., but he should remember that public houses may often be far apart and in these days of breathalysers we have to be careful not to infringe the driving laws. People prefer to visit public houses which are within easy walking distance or which are possible to get to by public transport. They do not like to make long car journeys to the public house. It is therefore reasonable to reduce the 25 per cent. figure substantially. This is an exceptional case and Parliament should provide a reasonable freedom of choice.

Brewers are usually thought of as supplying their own products in monopoly tied houses, but that applies also to a whole range of products such as soft drinks, cigarettes, crisps, nuts and other ancillary sales which are made on the premises. It is the custom of the brewer to insist that the licensee of a tied house presses on the consumer the brewer's own brand of spirits and only if a specific brand name is asked for is anything else supplied. So there is not only a lack of choice within the area, there is a lack of choice within the public house.

As a proponent of competition, the Minister should embrace the clause with enthusiasm. If he wants an example of what competition can do in an area, he should go to the north of England where he will find that the Federation Brewery, by making its products freely available to working men's clubs and elsewhere, has forced the major breweries to keep down the price of their main beers.

A further reason why I support the clause is that the Government have deliberately refused to make available to the beer drinker information to enable him to decide whether he is getting value for money. The amount of tax paid depends upon the original gravity of the beer. Yet the consumer is not allowed to know what is the original gravity of the beer that is being served. He cannot, therefore, even estimate the amount of tax he is paying on it. If he wishes, the brewer can charge an inflated price for a weak beer or, alternatively, reduce the original gravity and so obtain for himself a concealed price increase.

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Sir Tatton Brinton (Kidderminster)

in that case, would not he be assisting the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) in his campaign against alcoholism?

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Mr Michael Cocks (Bristol South)

The hon. Gentleman misjudges my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West, who holds catholic views on the drink industry. As he has said, he is not a great partaker—he is the House's great moderate. Although he does not go to extremes—and I feel sure that he is not a strict teetotaller—he does not begrudge people who enjoy a social drink.

The consumer does not know the amount of tax he is paying, and he does not know the strength of the beer he is drinking. This monopolistic position is compounded by the high pressure advertising of the brewers. In an area where there is freedom of choice this advertising is not so dangerous. The situation would be helped if a monopoly position could be declared to exist where more than 10 per cent. of the public houses in an area are restricted to the sale of one brewer's products. In an area where there is limited choice advertising exerts insidious pressures.

Watney-Mann has recently been advertising a beer as being stronger than it was before. The public have no criterion by which to judge whether that is true and, if it is, how much stronger is the beer. One advertisement which appeared on television seemed to suggest that the way to find this out was for a person to come home in an inebriated condition. It is disgusting that advertising of this sort should be permitted because a person who usually knows his own capacity might well make a mistake about it in this way.

We are also being subjected to advertising about Continental lager beers, which are extremely weak. They are almost as weak as water. They are poor value for money and often highly priced. It is difficult for a person in an area in which there are few public houses offering a choice to make a judgment.

The clause is in the public interest and helps to compensate for the Government's deficiencies in not remedying the abuses which I have outlined. The Minister may feel that I have over-stated the case, but I doubt it because he is a reasonable man who is always prepared to give credit where it is due.

In the Second Reading debate on the Licensing (Abolition of State Management) Bill in 1970 I spoke of the Courage Brewery offering a new beer—Full Brew—to the Bristol public and claiming that it was the result of widespread consumer research and was exactly what the Bristol public wanted. The brewers said that they had undertaken exhaustive tests and research and had eventually evolved this magic potion. The ordinary Bristol drinker, who is a reasonable, sensible man, suspected that the brewery intended to cease to supply ordinary bitter and to substitute for it this higher-priced Full Brew beer.

6.30 p.m.

I apologise for wearying you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, because you were Chair-main of our Committee and you have heard this before, but the House has not. The House has not heard the ending of this story. Only recently the brewery discontinued the manufacture of Full Brew because the stuff would not go down the throats of good honest Bristolians.

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Mr Michael Cocks (Bristol South)

I accept your guidance in this matter, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I have really made the point I wanted to make. I will not, out of deference to you, Sir, dwell on the point made by the hon. Member for Fife, West in naming the party opposite as the lackeys of the brewers. However, new Clause 4—with its figure of 10 per cent.—is just about right to protect the general public, especially in our large urban areas, the dormitory towns, the large metropolitan areas, from the kind of abuses to which they have been subjected by a Mafia type organisation for the best part of one hundred years.

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Miss Patricia Hornsby-Smith (Chislehurst)

the new clause provides that it may by regulation declare a monopoly situation to exist in any local authority area of the United Kingdom. There are not merely vast metropolitan areas like London, where 10 per cent, would be quite a slice of the brewing trade; there are hundreds of thousands of villages and townships where there are not 10 pubs. If there were under 10 pubs, it would be quite impossible for any brewer in hundreds of thousands of villages and towns in the country to own one pub.

The pernicious application of this suggested new clause is so unrealistic that none of the great brewing firms would be able to own a public house in any parish or in a considerable number of urban districts if there were less than 10 pubs in the area.

Many of us deplore the fact that some of the better-run, free house country pubs are going out of individual ownership. I will support the hon. Member as far as to say that in certain areas mine host is a local institution. However, let us not blind ourselves to the fact that with the invaluable increase in our tourist trade we also have tens of thousands of pubs whose owners have not the capital to put them into decent condition and repair, and are not prepared to provide the car parks and the reasonable and decent toilets that tourists and visitors would wish to use. Only as a result of the large brewing companies can many of the public houses in this country be uplifted. Many of the brewing companies have now provided, way out in the country, food and accommodation that was not available before. That has helped open up the tourist trade, not merely to come to London, Edinburgh and Stratford-on-Avon but to go round the country and be able to stay a night in the Cotswolds, in Yorkshire, or elsewhere. That is solely because of the practical ability of the larger companies and combines to provide modern accommodation, facilities and qualities within their pubs.

It is ridiculous to suggest that no area in the country which has less than 10 pubs could possibly be managed by any one of the brewers. Those arguments make nonsense of the new Clause.

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Mr Joe Ashton (Bassetlaw)

I shall not attempt to take up the remarks of the right hon. Lady in too great a depth. I have a rural constituency, where this is a serious problem. The village pubs do little business, and the breweries often attempt to close them down rather than give them up, whereas if the clause were allowed to stand someone would have the chance to take them under his own private scheme and improve them.

We are talking today about a product in which the manufacturer also exercises a great control over the retailer—which is unusual in this country. We used to have a Resale Price Maintenance Act, which the Government abolished in 1963 because it was not in the best interests of efficiency. With this product we have practically the same thing. The manufacturer is to all intents and purposes the retailer. There is only one other instance where the same thing applies—with petrol. The position there is slightly different, because petrol came on to the market later than beer. A petrol station can open as and when it likes, according to what the trade will bear. One does not have to be over the age of 18 to buy a gallon of petrol, as is the case with beer. Petrol can be sold with give-away gimmicks, or whatever the man who operates the station likes to provide, or he can do a bit of car repairing on the side, or exercise more free enterprise to benefit his customers.

That is not the case with beer. In this country, because of what has happened in the past, the customer is receiving a lower standard of service and the landlord or the tenant has an ever more precarious standard of living. In the past two or three years a landlord has often gone into a pub which has been decrepit and in a bad way, as the hon. Lady mentioned, and, by virtue of his own efforts, through the exercise of overtime by his wife and himself, has started a catering service and has put on strip shows or drag shows, pop groups or some form of entertainment. Inside two years he has made that pub into an excellent, going concern. Then along has come the brewery, saying that it will increase the rent by 400 per cent. or 500 per cent., or will kick the landlord out and put in a manager who will be on a flat wage and will have no incentive.

That happens time and time and time again, to literally dozens of landlords. In fact, they have now formed their own association, and many have been talking about having a one-day strike in June because of the monopoly situation that the brewers enjoy. We have had a Prices and Incomes Board report into the brewery industry, which stated that seven brewers virtually monopolise the whole country with their product and that the smaller brewer was going to the wall. We have had a new organisation setting itself up called CAMERA—Campaign for the Protection and Revitalisation of Ale—which publishes a great deal of information on the threat to small breweries.

In my part of the world, Barnsley bitter had a first-class reputation among customers. It has now been taken over by one of the big combines and has been relegated. There is little anybody can do about it, simply because these people have a monopoly of the retail outlets. Until that monopoly is smashed, the situation will get worse and worse, until in 20 years we shall have something very like State ale. Perhaps we shall have one or two manufacturers of ales. The ales will be called by different names, they will have different labels on the bottle and different advertisements will appear on television, but virtually the same people will be operating them.

Unless something is done—and the Director General has the power to do this—we shall never have the situation about which my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South (Mr. Michael Cocks) was speaking—in which a measuring yardstick is put on the gravity of beer.

We have had the Consumer Council on petrol. It used to be called premium, four-star, or five-star, and it did not mean a thing. It did not mean a thing until it had the octane rating put on it. It was then 101, 99 or 100, which was a sort of yardstick for taxation purposes. The yardstick of specific gravity in beer is used for tax purposes in declarations to the Inland Revenue.

The brewers say that the specific gravity varies from brew to brew. It may have done a few years ago when it took 22 days to brew beer, but the process now takes 48 hours and there is little difference in the specific gravity of different brews. There is no reason why the specific gravity should not be shown on a beer pump in the same way as the octane rating is shown on a petrol pump. There is no reason why, when we are able to buy a bottle of whisky marked as 72 proof, or a bottle of port marked as 22 proof, there should not be some kind of rating for beer.

That is one of the things which I hope the Director General will bring into operation. People who drink beer are entiled to know the relative strengths of beers, so that over the years they can find out whether a certain specific gravity suits their stomach, or whether it makes them eligible for the breathalyser test, and so on. They are entitled to know what suits them best, but they will never be able to find out while the monopoly situation that exists today continues to operate.

Unless some action is taken we shall never get, in public houses the kind of situation that we get in supermarkets, or at petrol stations, where the initiative rests with the supplier to provide goods which suit his customers. Any new enterprise initiated by a landlord is threatened by the fact that hanging over him is the fear of the brewer turfing him cut at a month's notice.

Perhaps the figure of 10 per cent. should be altered to suit the situation in different areas. In certain rural areas it may be necessary to have a different yardstick, but the Director General should have power to make the necessary rules to meet varying situations. In my rural area, many commuters come in from cities such as Sheffield. The hon. Members for Belper (Mr. Stewart-Smith) and Cannock (Mr. Cormack) no doubt know that because of electoral changes many people have moved into rural areas, but the only new pubs built there are those owned by the existing brewers.

If someone wants to set up a new working men's club, strong objections are raised to the proposal by the brewers in the area. It sometimes becomes necessary for the club to go outside the area to borrow money. Enormous difficulties are experienced in satisfying consumer demand because of the present restrictions.

Photo of Mr Trevor Skeet

Mr Trevor Skeet (Bedford)

If there were an alteration in the licensing laws to enable new applications to be granted, would not that meet the difficulty?

Photo of Mr Joe Ashton

Mr Joe Ashton (Bassetlaw)

Not necessarily, because there are also questions of capital financing, supply and distribution to be dealt with. It may be that the brewer in the area has a monopoly and that the only alternative source of supply is 50 miles away, which gives rise to tremendous difficulties.

Federation bitter is on sale in the House of Commons, having been brought down from Newcastle. I am certain that if it were possible to sell Federation bitter in London pubs the sales of other brews would drop enormously. We in the House of Commons can buy bitter at 51p a half pint, or 11p a pint. According to Which?, this beer has a specific gravity that is acceptable to the ordinary beer drinker, and I repeat that if it were possible to sell this brew in London pubs there would be a tremendous demand for it. But it is not possible to do so because the pubs are owned by monopoly brewers, who charge anything from 13p to 15p for a pint of ordinary bitter. The price depends on the pub and the area in which it is located.

Hon. Members have the privilege of being able to enjoy high specific gravity beer at 11p a pint whenever the House is sitting, and for an hour after it rises. What special rule is there which says that hon. Members are allowed to drink this beer, but the public outside are not? Why is it that we can enjoy certain facilities, while the public outside cannot?

Surely that is what a fair trading Bill should be all about. That is one angle which the Director General ought to have the power to investigate, or make rules about, so that the public are enabled to enjoy what their representatives enjoy in this place.

6.45 p.m.

Photo of Mr Frank McElhone

Mr Frank McElhone (Glasgow Gorbals)

My intervention will be brief. I support what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton), and I support his new clause.

The right hon. Member for Chislehurst (Dame Patricia Hornsby-Smith) said that tens of thousands of areas had fewer than 10 pubs. I submit that because of the reorganisation of local government the number of licensing authority areas in England and Wales will be reduced, and therefore the point made by the right hon. Lady is not valid. She said that if the figure of 10 per cent. were applied in areas where there were 10 pubs, or fewer than that number, serious difficulties would arise.

Photo of Miss Patricia Hornsby-Smith

Miss Patricia Hornsby-Smith (Chislehurst)

The clause does not refer to licensing authority areas. It refers specifically to local authority areas, and they go down to the smallest unit.

Photo of Mr Frank McElhone

Mr Frank McElhone (Glasgow Gorbals)

I admit that there may be a slight defect in the clause. I defer to the right hon. Lady, but I have made the point, and I think that it has been accepted in general by those present.

For a time I was chairman of the licensing court in Glasgow. That was a difficult assignment, as anyone who knows the licensing situation in Glasgow will agree. A serious situation has been developing there for some time. The city is going through a large redevelopment programme, which means that hundreds of public houses are being pulled down. The licensees have to submit applications for public houses in the new areas, which in many instances are shopping precincts with high rents and rates. If a publican who is dispersed because of redevelopment does not own his premises, he gets very little compensation and he finds that he cannot afford the costly business of erecting a new establishment.

During the last few years we have seen the development of a substantial monopoly of the licensing trade in Scotland. The publican has had to depend on Scottish and Newcastle beers, on Bass Char-rington, or on some of the beers brewed by the large English concerns that are now appearing on the Scottish scene.

There are large housing estates on the periphery of the city of Glasgow. Some of them have populations of 35,000 or 40,000. Until recently, something called the 1890 Resolution did not allow the building of public houses or licensed restaurants in these areas. That resolution has now been rescinded, and it is my fear that, because of the costs involved, when new licensed premises are built in these peripheral housing estates the brewing monopolies will get control of the licences and the choice of particular beers will be restricted.

The new clause is vitally important to the licensing trade in Glasgow, in particular. When new public houses or licensed restaurants are built in these new areas, many of which are completely dry now, I fear that the large brewers—Scottish, Newcastle, Bass Charrington, and so on—will come in—I am sorry to say that that has been a developing trend in the West of Scotland—and the choice open to the customer will be severely limited.

I do not expect the Minister to be familiar with the situation in Scotland, but there we also have restricted areas, and there is a possibility that the Scottish Office may have a rethink about the Scottish licensing laws in the near future. As a result, there could be a large extension of drinking facilities. It is now difficult to get a drink on a Sunday, but the situation could change. There is certainly a trend towards an alteration in the system.

My fear is that the monopolistic brewer will dominate the scene when licences are allocated. If the new clause is not accepted there could be real injustice to the new licensing areas in Glasgow and in the West of Scotland. The small, independent man who has made a lifetime career of the drink trade and now has the opportunity to take over premises will find himself faced by application from the large brewers and, in turn, the choice of the customer will be restricted.

The Bill is aimed at the protection of the public and a better choice for the customer. The Conservative Party has always been said to be the party which advocates freedom of choice, but unfortunately since June 1970 very few of us have seen this exercised. I hope the Minister will take note of these brief comments and will attempt to answer some of the important points which have been made in this debate.

Photo of Mr Bruce Millan

Mr Bruce Millan (Glasgow Craigton)

I should like to say a few words in support of the new clause. I cannot claim to speak with all the detailed knowledge possessed by some of my hon. Friends on this subject, although on another occasion I would have been happy to take up the points put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Gorbals (Mr. McElhone) in educating the Minister about the drinking habits of the constituents of Glasgow.

I wish to take as a starting point what the Monopolies Commission said in 1969. It is true, as the right hon. Lady the Member for Chislehurst (Dame Patricia Hornsby-Smith) said, that the tied house system has certain advantages in improving the amenities of certain public houses. That was recognised by the Monopolies Commission, but the commission found that the tied house system operated against the public interest on a number of grounds. The commission felt that the system was detrimental to efficient distribution. It weakened the position of independent wholesalers. It did not ensure that any benefits from reduced costs were passed on to the customer. It prevented the entry of new producers into the market. And it operated in a way which limited and avoided price competition. Unfortunately, the commission did not go on to make a number of detailed recommendations to government. It simply recommended that the matter should be considered in the context of the licensing system. Since then the Erroll Committee has been set up and has reported on the licensing system generally.

There was another consequence of the Monopolies Commission report of which the House should be reminded and it was mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton). The Brewers' Society made a statement in 1970 following the report of the Monopolies Commission and, in effect, made certain promises to improve the practices of the large brewers in relation to the tied house system. Those promises have not been carried out, and in some respects they have been deliberately breached by the large brewers since the statement was made in 1970. Since the Monopolies Commission reported, the extent of concentration in the tied houses belonging to the major breweries has increased significantly and since the Monopolies Commission reported in 1969 there have been a number of substantial brewery mergers.

I quote a few figures to demonstrate the increase in the holding of the big brewers in public houses. The number of on-licences held in 1962 by Bass Charrington, as it then was, amounted to 3,600. In 1972 it rose to 9,200. Courage in 1962 had just over 1,000 on-licences. In 1972 it had nearly 6,000. This concentration has continued since then so the up-to-date figures would be even more significant than the ones I have quoted. One of the promises made by the Brewers' Society in 1970 was to give greater security to tenants, but the present position is that the big brewers are displacing tenants and putting in managers.

I should like to quote from an article in The Times on 3rd April this year which underlines the fact that Charring-ton, for example, are putting in more pub managers. The item said: Bass Charrington has notified 45 licensees in key public houses in London and the south-east that their establishments are to be taken over by managers employed by the company. The article then went on to say that in the previous month Truman had told 82 of its 800 or so public house tenants that they too would be replaced by managers.

The point about this—apart from the fact that it is undesirable for other reasons—is that it is specifically in breach of the promises made by the Brewers' society in response to the Monopolies Commission report with the aim of diverting the Government's attention.

There was some doubt whether the Erroll Committee should be allowed to deal with tied houses at all. Therefore, all that the Erroll Report said about tied houses was that if the Government wanted to do anything about the situation they should do it through monopolies legislation. The new clause follows the Erroll recommendation in saying that there should be something specifically in the Bill to deal with the growing monopoly of the brewers and the growing menace of tied houses and suggests that this should be done in the Bill since it is a piece of monopoly legislation.

There are a number of things which the Government could announce now. All that the Government have done so far is to say that they are considering the matter in relation to the general recommendations of the Erroll Committee, but so far we have had nothing from the Government about what they intend to do about the increasing concentration in the brewery industry and the growth of the tied house system.

There are a number of obvious things which the Government could now do. They could announce that they will allow no more brewery mergers without reference to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. I would go further and say that the Government's attitude should be, "Unless there are very special reasons there will be no further mergers at all in the brewery industry". The Government could make that announcement now as part of their policy in respect of fair trading.

Some of the aspects of the tied house system, quite apart from the supply of beer, are completely unnecessary. There certainly need to be no ties in respect of soft drinks. Some of these practices should be banned by the Government and there is an overwhelming case for eliminating some of the more objectionable features of the tied house system.

I do not pretend that the new clause contains all that we want. We discussed this matter to some extent in Committee and we put up ideas to the Government. In fact, in Committee we tabled a much stronger new clause which would have abolished the tied house system altogether. But that was not accepted by the Government.

My point is that something requires to be done. Whether it is by introducing a new definition of a monopoly situation in a local area, as my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West proposes, or in some other way, something is urgently required in this Bill to deal with the increasing concentration in the brewing industry and the increasing growth of the tied house system, with all its detriment to the customers of our public houses. It is from that point of view that I support the new Clause.

7.0 p.m.

Photo of Sir Peter Emery

Sir Peter Emery (Honiton)

I think that it is fair to say that at the beginning of the debate we had the normal political knockabout which we have come to expect when the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) gets on his hobby horse about brewers and tied houses. We have heard his allegations many times before. We are becoming fairly used to them.

The new Clause would entitle the Secretary of State by regulation to provide a separate and much more rigorous monopoly test for the purpose of the Bill in respect of tied public houses. It is a test which would not apply in any other area in terms of a monopoly reference. It would enable monopoly references to be made, therefore, in situations in which more than 10 per cent. of the public houses in any local authority area were restricted to the sale of any one brewer's product.

Many hon. Members have neglected to notice that, as it stands, the Bill tightens up very much the ability of the Government to look into some of the situations about which there have been complaints. Perhaps I might refer specifically to that of the hon. Member for Bristol, South (Mr. Michael Cocks). Does he realise that in this Bill for the first time the Government are taking powers to look into local monopolies in a way that has never been done before? In the same way, we have lowered the percentage factor for an investigation from 33⅓ to 25 per cent. This is a major step to deal overall with the monopoly situation, and not just that affecting the brewing industry or that affecting tied houses.

There have been a number of references to the Erroll Committee. That committee was set up to investigate the overall licensing laws. Hon. Members will know that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is considering carefully the Committee's Report in the light of public reaction to it—and there has been some very strong reaction. The hon. Member for Fife, West would lead public reaction in one way, whereas his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Gorbals (Mr. McElhone) would lead it in another way. To believe that this is a simple matter in terms of an extension of the licensing laws is to misjudge the situation.

Photo of Mr Frank McElhone

Mr Frank McElhone (Glasgow Gorbals)

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman does not intend to mislead the House by suggesting that I am in any way as cross-purposes with my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton). I am afraid that I did not hear all my hon. Friend's speech, but I know his views, having had many private conversations with him on the subject. I concur in all that he has said and support the new clause.

Photo of Sir Peter Emery

Sir Peter Emery (Honiton)

I do not doubt that the hon. Gentleman supports the new clause. However, I suggest that the nonconformist views of the hon. Member for Fife, West are not exactly the same as those which have been expressed by the hon. Member for the Gorbals about the problems of getting a drink in Scotland on a Sunday. I quite understand the hon. Gentleman's worry about that.

Photo of Mr Frank McElhone

Mr Frank McElhone (Glasgow Gorbals)

The hon. Gentleman must be very careful when he refers to sectarian interests in Scotland. He is liable to get me and my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West in terrible trouble back home.

Photo of Sir Peter Emery

Sir Peter Emery (Honiton)

If I were being naughty, I should say that I am delighted. However, I do not mean that. Nor do I wish to misrepresent the hon. Member for Gorbals.

The Erroll Committee considered the tied house position in the licensing trade in Chapter 21 of its report, which dealt with general matters. There have been a number of suggestions that it did not. However, it is interesting to see that it agreed with the view of the Monopolies Commission which was that the best method of dealing with tied houses lay in an alteration of the licensing laws. In view of that, the Government set up an inquiry to look into the method by which the recommendations of the Monopolies Commission should be carried into effect.

It would not be right in this Bill to single out the brewers or any other sector of society for different and more rigorous treatment. A criterion of 25 per cent. should be fully adequate to enable any significant local monopolies to be investigated.

It is interesting that, following the publication of the report on beer, the Department had discussions with the brewery companies with a view to remedying some of the defects which the Monopolies Commission had found in the tied house system. It was recognised that since the commission's only recommendation had been about a relaxation of the licensing system, it would not be appropriate to seek formal undertakings from the brewers. None the less the brewers issued a statement in December 1970 containing a number of recommendations to their members. The recommendations dealt with four specific matters: increasing choice to the public, security for tenants, ownership of licensed premises, and the use of restrictive convenants in sales of licensed premises.

There was a major follow-through of those recommendations. I have in mind one specific instance where there were definite restrictions on the type of tonic water available at certain public houses. Today "Schhh" is available to a very much greater extent throughout the trade than ever before. In the same way different types of lager are much more evident than before.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Minister for Trade and Consumer Affairs is meeting the brewers to consider the whole of this code, and I have already announced to the House that the Brewers' Society has put forward proposals for a code for their tenants.

If hon. Members have specific allegations to back up their speeches I should very much like them to be forwarded to my Department. Too often generalisations are made which, when they come to investigation, cannot always be substantiated. Dealing specifically with tied houses, an example of what I mean is to be found in a parliamentary Question which I have answered in recent weeks. In the course of my reply, I said that in the last quarter of 1967 the percentage of tenanted public houses was 764 whereas that of managed tied houses was 236. In June 1971, the last period for which figures are available, 749 per cent. of tied houses were tenanted and managed houses were down to 251 per cent. I suggest that is not the large sweeping trend that hon. Gentlemen have implied. However, I do not wish to mislead the House. There is in these figures one trend which is somewhat hidden. On the whole, there has been an increase of managed houses, particularly of the larger establishments. I do not want to mislead the House into thinking that that is not the position.

Photo of Mr Joe Ashton

Mr Joe Ashton (Bassetlaw)

Is the Minister aware that the figures are not valid without taking into account slum clearance? In many slum clearance areas in the big cities pubs have been pulled down and not been replaced, except perhaps by one licence on a new estate replacing five old licences in an old type area.

Photo of Sir Peter Emery

Sir Peter Emery (Honiton)

I have given the figures. The hon. Gentleman may look at them. I think they go some way to disabuse some of the allegations that have been made.

The hon. Member for Fife, West asked why we had not had a debate on the Erroll Report. We seem to be having a debate now. I was delighted that the hon. Gentleman was answered by his hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South who said that such a debate was not necessary as we had had enough debates on this matter led by the hon. Member for Fife, West.

The hon. Gentleman stressed the situation regarding local monopoly. We accept that there is some substance in his argument. However, we have taken steps to deal with this situation, if necessary, in a way that we never could before the Bill was introduced.

Photo of Mr William Rees-Davies

Mr William Rees-Davies (Isle of Thanet)

Before my hon. Friend leaves this point, may I make one comment about it? The new clause is unnecessary because the brewers have already got distribution arrangements between themselves, have they not, whereby they can distribute in any area each other's beers? They have indicated that they do not wish to have a concentration of one brewer's beer in any one area. They are now making arrangements to ensure that there is an infinitely greater variety. Is that not part of the arrangements which are to be discussed betwen my right hon. and learned Friend and the Brewers' Society when he comes to consider these matters?

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Sir Peter Emery (Honiton)

I will not add to what my hon. Friend has said. This is fulfilling part of the recommendations by the Erroll Committe on increasing choice for the public.

Photo of Sir John Hall

Sir John Hall (Wycombe)

Does not the point that has been made make it clear that the new clause, as drafted, would be quite ineffective because most brewers have an exchange system whereby they sell each other's beers in their houses so that no one house could be said to be restricted to the sale of one brewer's products? To that extent it is not possible to bring into effect the intention of the new clause.

Photo of Sir Peter Emery

Sir Peter Emery (Honiton)

That argument also applies. We can mount an argument that the new clause is merely brought forward as a peg on which to hang a debate about the tied house.

The new clause was admirably summed up by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chislehurst (Dame Patricia Hornsby-Smith). She put her finger on the ridiculousness of the proposal made in the new clause.

7.15 p.m.

The hon. Member for Bristol, South and other hon. Gentlemen have talked about the public house being the major and only social contact for many people nowadays. I accept that. I believe that the pub is a major amenity for a large section of our community to whom the price of beer is of particular interest.

Photo of Sir Peter Emery

Sir Peter Emery (Honiton)

The hon. Member for Bristol, South nods assent. The Labour Government should have thought about that when they were thinking of increasing the tax on beer. Whenever there has been a Labour Government the tax on beer has increased, whereas under a Conservative Government the tax has, on the whole, come down. The Labour Government obviously did not take into consideration the effect that an increase of 3d on a pint of beer would have on large sections of society who use the pub as a social amenity.

Photo of Mr Alan Williams

Mr Alan Williams (Swansea West)

In view of this great achievement by the Conservative Government, may I ask the hon. Gentleman to tell the House by how much the price of beer has gone up since they came into office and by how much brewers' profits have gone up?

Photo of Sir Peter Emery

Sir Peter Emery (Honiton)

I have not got those figures at my fingertips. The hon. Gentleman still has time to make a speech on that point if he wishes.

The Brewers' Society, in an independent survey, claimed that beer in brewery company owned pubs averages 16lp per pint compared with 179p per pint in non-brewery company owned pubs. That is an illustration that not everything is wrong with the action taken by the brewers regarding tied houses.

I should stress that my right hon. and learned Friend is to meet the brewers regarding the code and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is reviewing the Erroll Committee's recommendations.

The allegation made by the hon. Member for Fife, West, that the brewers are the paymasters of the Tory Party, is not only a lot of nonsense, but grossly inaccurate. If the hon. Gentleman will do the homework that he normally does, he will see that none of the major English breweries has contributed to the Tory Party in the last two or three years. That hits absolutely on the head the allegation that he has been making today.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton

Mr Willie Hamilton (Fife West)

The Minister's reaction speaks for itself. If what he said in the last few sentences is true, then I ask him to publish the figures.

I asked my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason), who was then the Minister responsible, to provide the figures of brewers' contributions to political parties before 1970, and he gave me those figures. This is provided for in the companies law that was passed by the Labour Government. Those were the figures that I was quoting. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman does not know what he is talking about. If what he says is true about the brewers having not given any contributions to the Conservative Party in the last two or three years let him publish figures, as my right hon. Friend did when we were in Government. I will be very glad to withdraw if it is found that I am wrong.

Photo of Sir John Hall

Sir John Hall (Wycombe)

A little while ago I looked up the contributions made by quoted brewery companies to the Tory Party. I was ashamed at the small, insignificant and, indeed miserable amounts which were given by the brewery industry to the Tory Party.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton

Mr Willie Hamilton (Fife West)

Some people think of 130,000 compensation for the loss of a job paying 50,000 as reasonable. It depends on the figures with which one is used to dealing. What the hon. Gentleman may regard as derisory figures from the brewers might be regarded by others as quite substantial. It depends on the context in which one is speaking.

The Minister says that his right hon Friend is in consultation with the brewers. How long has he been in consultation? The Monopoly Commission reported in April 1969 and the Erroll Committee reported about six months ago. I do not know how many meetings have taken place, but if there has been constant consultation, it is time that the Minister came up with some answers. It is very easy for those with a weak case to pinprick and nit-pick about the exact wording of a new clause.

There is clearly a monopoly situation in the brewing industry, in the production of the product and in its distribution and retailing. This monopoly is intensifying and the Government have not given any indication that they have done, or intend to do, anything about it.

The hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) gave the case away when he said that the brewers had decided amongst themselves to carve up the market. Of course they have. Although there are different labels on the bottles and cans, the brewers are all producing the same kind of rubbish and the same kind of mass product. This carve-up of the market has taken place up and down the country. We all know this. Take for instance keg beer. It does not matter a damn whether it is drunk in John o'Groats or Land's End: it is the same rubbish.

The Minister has spoken about information being provided by the brewers as to

how they have carried out the undertakings which they gave in December 1970, but all the evidence points in the opposite direction. Far from giving security of tenure to the tenants, the brewers are moving over to the use of managers. This is what the row has been about in the last seven months. The tenants are organising themselves and trying to prevent this switch to managers. I would not accept any information from the brewers, for they have a vested interest in the status quo. Any information they give to the Minister is for the express purpose of maintaining the status quo.

The Minister and the Government seem determined by means of the Bill to protect the consumer from monopolistic abuse, and the greatest monopolistic abuse occurs in the drink trade. The measure of the Government's sincerity in protecting the consumer will be the way in which they deal with the drink trade. I suspect that they will not take action because of the reasons which I gave in my original speech. I hope that the House divides on the new clause.

Question put, That the Clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 168, Noes 185.

Division No. 137.]AYES[7.25 p.m.
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)Huckfield, Leslie
Armstrong, ErnestDavis, Terry (Bromsgrove)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)
Ashton, JoeDeakins, EricJanner, Greville
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)Dell, Rt. Hn. EdmundJay, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Bennett, James(Glasgow, Bridgeton)Dempsey, JamesJenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)
Bishop, E. S.Doig, PeterJohn, Brynmor
Boardman, H. (Leigh)Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)
Booth, AlbertDouglas-Mann, BruceJohnston, Russell (Inverness)
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. ArthurDuffy, A. E. P.Jones, Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)Dunnett, JackJones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)Eadie, AlexJones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)
Buchan, NormanEdwards, Robert (Bilston)Judd, Frank
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)Edwards, William (Merioneth)Kaufman, Gerald
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. JamesEnglish, MichaelKelley, Richard
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)Evans, FredKerr, Russell
Cant, R. B.Ewing, HarryKinnock, Neil
Carmichael, NeilFaulds, AndrewLambie, David
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.Lamborn, Harry
Castle, Rt. Hn. BarbaraFletcher, Ted (Darlington)Lamond, James
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)Ford, BenLatham, Arthur
Coleman, DonaldForrester, JohnLawson, George
Concannon, J. D.Galpern, Sir MyerLee, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Conlan, BernardGilbert, Dr. JohnLeonard, Dick
Corbet Mrs. FredaGourlay, HarryLestor, Miss Joan
Cox, Thomas (Wandwortn, C.)Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Crawshaw, RichardHamilton, William (Fife, W.)Lomas, Kenneth
Cronin, JohnHamling, WilliamLoughlin, Charles
Crosland, Rt. Hn. AnthonyLyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)Harper, JosephMcBride, Neil
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)McCartney, Hugh
Dalyell, TamHattersley, RoyMcElhone, Frank
Davidson, ArthurHeffer, Eric S.Mackenzie, Gregor
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)Hooson, EmlynMackintosh, John P.
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)Horam, JohnMaclennan, Robert
Davies, Ifor (Gower)Houghton, Rt. Hn. DouglasMcMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)Perry, Ernest G.Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Marsden, F.Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.Tope, Graham
Marshall, Dr EdmundReed, D. (Sedgefield)Torney, Tom
Meacher, MichaelRhodes, GeoffreyTuck, Raphael
Mellish, Rt. Hn. RobertRoberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)Varley, Eric G.
Millan, BruceRobertson, John (Paisley)Walden, Brian (B'm ham, All Salnts)
Milne, EdwardRodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)Rose, Paul B.Wallace, George
Molloy, WilliamRoss, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)Weitzman, David
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)Rowlands, TedWellbeloved, James
Moyle, RolandSandelson, NevilleWells, William (Walsall, N.)
Murray, Ronald KingSheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Oakes, GordonShort, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
O'Halloran, MichaelSilkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
O'Malley, BrianSmith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Orbach, MauriceSpearing, NigelWilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Oswald, ThomasStallard, A. W.Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)Stoddart, David (Swindon)Woof, Robert
Paget, R. T.Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Palmer, ArthurStrang, GavinTELLERS FOB THE AYES:
Pardoe, JohnSummerskill, Hn. Dr. ShirleyMr. James A. Dunn and
Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)Taverne, DickMr. James Hamilton.
Pavitt, Laurie
NOES
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)Monro, Hector
Atkins, HumphreyGrylls, MichaelMontgomery, Fergus
Awdry, DanielGummer, J. SelwynMore, Jasper
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)Gurden, HaroldMorgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)Hall, John (Wycombe)Morrison, Charles
Batsford, BrianHannam, John (Exeter)Murton, Oscar
Beamish, Col. Sir TuftonHarrison, Brian (Maldon)Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Biffen, JohnHaselhurst, AlanNeave, Airey
Biggs-Davison, JohnHastings, StephenNormanton, Tom
Blaker, PeterHavers, MichaelNott, John
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)Hawkins, PaulOnslow, Cranley
Boscawen, Hn. RobertHayhoe, BarneyOppenheim, Mrs. Sally
Bossom, Sir CliveHicks RobertOwen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Bowden, AndrewHiggins, Terence L.Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)
Brinton, Sir TattonHiley, JosephParkinson, Cecil
Brocklebank-Fowler, ChristopherHill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)Percival, Ian
Bruce-Gardyne, J.Hill, James (Southampton, Test)Pike, Miss Mervyn
Bryan, Sir PaulHornby, RichardPounder, Rafton
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus, N&M)Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame PatriciaPowell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Bullus, Sir EricHowe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)Price, David (Eastleigh)
Butler, Adam (Bosworth)Howell, David (Guildford)Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Chapman, SydneyHowell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)Proudfoot, Wilfred
Chichester-Clark, R.Hutchison, Michael ClarkPym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Churchill, W. S.Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Quennell, Miss, J. M.
Clark, William (Surrey, E.)
Clegg, WalterJames, DavidRaison, Timothy
Coombs, DerekJenkin, Patrick (Woodford)Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Redmond, Robert
Cormack, PatrickJessel, TobyRees, Peter (Dover)
Costain, A. P.Jopling, MichaelRess-Davies, W. R.
Crowder, F. P.Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. ElaineRenton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir HenryKing, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid,Maj.-Gen.JackKinsey, J. R.Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.Kitson, TimothyRoberts, Wyn (Conway)
Dixon, PlersKnight, Mrs. JillRost, Peter
du Cann, Rt. Hn. EdwardKnox, DavidScott, Nicholas
Dykes, HughLamont, NormanScott-Hopkins, James
Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir JohnLane, DavidShaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whilby)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)Langford-Holt, Sir John
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)Le Marchant, SpencerShelton, William (Clapham)
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Sinclair, Sir George
Emery, PeterLoveridge, JohnSkeet, T. H H.
Eyre, ReginaldLuce, R. N.Soref, Harold
Fenner, Mrs. PeggyMacArthur, IanSpeed, Keith
Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)McCrindle, R. A.Spence, John
Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)McLaren, MartinSproat, lain
Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesMcNair-Wilson, MichaelStainton, Keith
Fookes, Miss JanetMather, CarolStewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Fowler, NormanMaude, AngusStokes, John
Fox, MarcusMawby, RayStuttaford, Dr. Tom
Gardner, EdwardMaxwell-Hyslop, R. J.Suteliffe, John
Gibson-Watt, DavidMeyer, Sir AnthonyTapsell, Peter
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)Mills, Peter (Torrington)Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)
Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.Miscampbell, NormanTaylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Goodhart, PhilipMitchell, Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Gorst, JohnMitchell, David (Basingstoke)Tebbit, Norman
Gower, RaymondMoate, RogerTemple, John M.
Gray, HamishMoney, ErnleThomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Green, AlanMonks, Mrs. ConnleThomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)Walder, David (Clitheroe)Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Trafford, Dr. AnthonyWard, Dame IreneWylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Trew, PeterWeatherill, Bernard
Tugendhat, ChristopherWhite, Roger (Gravesend)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Turton, Rt. Hn Sir RobinWilkinson, JohnMr. Kenneth Clarke and
Waddington, DavidMr. Tim Fortescue.

Question accordingly negatived.