HC Deb 19 January 1993 vol 217 cc157-8W
Mr. Page

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will review the operation of the Beer Orders.

Mr. Heseltine

The Beer Orders came fully into force only on 1 November last year. The Director General of Fair Trading will be keeping them under review to ensure that the national brewers comply fully with their requirements. However, I have been giving further consideration to the merits of an early full scale review of the orders. The period since the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's 1989 report on the supply of beer has seen many significant changes taken place in the brewing industry, partly due to the Beer Orders but also in response to commercial pressures. The full effect of these changes will only gradually become apparent. Moreover, it is highly desirable that both brewers and tenants alike should now have a period of stability to plan ahead within the new framework that has been created by the orders. A full-scale review later this year of the effects of the orders would further prolong uncertainty within the industry. While the director general will continue to monitor the market and will investigate fully any evidence of anti-competitive behaviour in line with his statutory duties, we have concluded that it would be wrong to ask him to carry out a further full-scale review of the market.

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