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(From Guardian Unlimited)
Pub groups have fallen sharply after a committee of MPs recommended they should be referred to the Competition Commission.
The committee&apos ;s report said there was an imbalance of power between the big pub companies and their tenants, and suggested the beer tie - which forces tenants to buy drinks and other prices from their landlord pub companies - should be limited. It also criticised the Office of Fair Trading, which in 2004 found there were no grounds for a competition investigation into the industry.
Enterprise Inns today said the report was disappointing, with chief executive Ted Tuppen maintaining:
"We do not accept there are any grounds on which the matter should be referred to the Competition Commission. [But] we are confident any investigation will conclude that the principle of the tie continues to confer significant advantages for tied tenants."
Punch Taverns - which along with Enterprise is struggling under a mountain of debt - said the government should reject the recommendation. It said: "The competition authorities have looked at this market a number of times."
Analysts were …