Scottish & Newcastle Pub Enterprises has launched a new lease agreement for its franchisees which re-introduces assignability.

The company will transfer 170 managed pubs to its leased division over the next two months to introduce the agreement. It will follow this with the transfer of existing leased outlets when leases come up for renewal.

The new deal will be assignable after two years in the trade.

Company research had shown the original non-assignable franchise may have put prospective industry entrants off because it limited the financial benefits and security for the franchisee.

The new agreement is expected to give licensees more incentive to develop their business.

The number of pubs under the franchise scheme is set to rise from about 400 at the end of

last November to more than 600 by the end of this year.