Much has been written about that apology of a budget, and, boy, didn't it show at the ballot box in the local elections. However, it's not just down to the present occupants of office that pubs are now closing at nearly one a day. The pub companies and breweries must shoulder their share of the blame.

The last edition of ALE pointed out how many pubs are up for grabs at the moment [even more now - Ed].

When will the people who set the rents realise they are killing the golden goose? Greede, sorry, Greene King have owned many of their pubs for hundreds of years and they have paid for themselves in the rents received over and over again, yet the rents keep going up in a falling market and it just does not work. Take that magnificent pub, the Boot at Dullingham. GK thought it not viable and wanted to close it. Fortunately Kevin and Diane converted it into a thriving free-house and the rest is history. Enterprise Inns own the Rose in Stapleford and the previous two sets of landlords have floundered, presumably because of the rent they were having to pay, allegedly, in excess of £70,000 per annum. At this price nobody could make it work. Mr Brown understands Enterprise have given a far better deal to the new people who will be taking over shortly; if they can do this now, would it not have been far more sensible to have been fairer in the first place? John Mole, that wily old fox who kept the Trinity Foot for years, eventually sold up a number of years ago when his rent went up to £59,000, and nobody has made it work since. Greed is the name of the game, and it can't go on.

I reckon the government should step in and cap the amount pubs pay in rent. Also, if a brewery sells to the free trade at a discounted price, the same deal on the beer or lager should be offered to tied tenants. I would also like to see pubs that have had 3 publican in 3 years being automatically put up for sale at a price agreed by the ombudsman. If these measures are not brought in I fear that this will be the death knell for the industry, so take heed of this and let the campaign commence!

Jerry Brown