§ 10. Mr. Colvin
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he proposes to take any action in response to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's recommendation on licensed trade tenants' security contained in its report on the supply of beer.
§ Mr. Colvin
I should like him also to take into account the views of my hon. Friend, because he bears responsibility for tenant security for licensees; I do not know why. He has been subject to a considerable amount of lobbying over the years by publicans who are concerned about their tenant security. As the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report on the supply of beer recommended that publicans now become subject to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 my hon. Friend will 1112 obviously want to express an opinion to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and the House would like to know what that opinion is.
§ Mr. Morley
Is it not fair to say that the Minister should have consideration for the small producers of food? That could apply also to small producers in the brewing industry. The small producers have been squeezed out and crushed for far too long by the juggernauts, the few, large brewers. The report gives small breweries a chance to get their beers into more chains through the guest beer slot and therefore encourages those businesses. Should not the Minister make representations to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to defend those people?
§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
Does my hon. Friend not accept that the tenant of a pub, particularly in a rural area, plays a vital role in the community? Is he not concerned that if we erode the position of the tenant, we shall be doing great damage to rural communities? Therefore, will he not prevail upon his right hon. Friend to amend the recommendations of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report?
§ Mr. Cormack
Will my hon. Friend stop being so coy? He has not only a right to an opinion but a duty to have an opinion. Is he aware that on this extremely important issue the totally unreconstructed free market philosophy advocated from the Opposition Benches is not shared by all Conservative Members?