I have been contacted about the proposed takeover of Punch Taverns PLC by Heineken.

Although I appreciate the concerns that have been expressed over the potential takeover, this does remain a commercial matter. Having said that, it is clearly a big vote of confidence in the British pub industry, and I understand that an offer currently rests with Punch shareholders for agreement in the coming weeks. This will, of course, be subject to regulatory approval and receive appropriate scrutiny from the competition authorities.

More broadly, I am a firm supporter of local pubs here in the High Peak, and I know how important a role they play across the constituency. I have no doubt about the Government's support for British pubs, and I fully support the actions they've taken to back pubs, including three cuts in beer duty.
In addition to this, the Pubs Code came into force last July, giving tenants more rights and greater protection when dealing with large pub companies that own tied pubs. An independent adjudicator has also been set up to help ensure tied tenants are treated fairly by pub companies and are no worse off than free-of-tie publicans, a principle I firmly support.

Ultimately, the UK has benefited greatly from being an open and free economy, and British companies have been successful in attracting investment into the UK, generating the wealth that the nation needs to prosper.

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