Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries said yesterday that licensing reform would have a "relatively modest" effect on the opening hours of its pubs.

The Midlands-based brewer and pub operator said changes to opening times in the proposed new Licensing Act would mean most of its outlets would probably choose to open for just an extra hour or two on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, rather than 24 hours a day.

Paul Inglett, Wolves' finance director, said the company was not in favour of transfer the issuing of licences from magistrates to local councils, but was working with legislators because it felt change was inevitable: "It is going to happen - it is just a question of when."