ENTERPRISE Inns, the UK’s second-biggest pubs company, yesterday lashed out at the government for its failure to provide adequate aid to struggling publicans.
Enterprise, which has over 7,000 tenanted pubs, said it noted the proposals by newly-appointed pubs minister John Healey to commit £4.3m of funding to the industry over the next three years.
But chief executive Ted Tuppen was scathing over the extent of the measures, adding: “However, this compares poorly with the £20m we spent supporting deserving licensees last year alone and pales into insignificance when set alongside the extra £160m beer duty burden imposed by the chancellor in his latest Budget.”
Enterprise said there had been no material change in its performance since its interim management statement in January, when it said the decline in income from its pubs had eased slightly to around four per cent, having fallen by eight per cent over the previous financial year.
The group has suffered along with its peers from the impact of the recession on customers’ disposable income, an effect exacerbated by hikes in beer duty and discounted alcohol promotions in supermarkets.