The great British pub is in crisis, reports The Sunday Telegraph, what with the smoking ban, bad weather, spiralling raw material, energy and employment costs and a fall in the number of beer drinkers. Now the prospect of a slowdown in consumer spending is seriously worrying industry executives. Blue Oar Securities predicts Christmas will be strong but sentiment in the new year should not be expected to recover in the short term. However, Altium Securities says the second half of the year offers more promise if companies are able to ride out the storm. The newspaper says a likely slowdown in the first half of 2008 will be a worry for the likes of Punch Taverns, Mitchells & Butlers and Enterprise Inns. Industry insiders believe a period of intense, price-driven competition could be in storm. The Sunday Telegraph (Business) 23/12/07 page 3