A parliamentary inquiry into beer supply deals has been told that the controversial "beer tie" is unlikely to be abolished. The practice allows pubcos to be exclusive suppliers of beer to the publicans who rent and manage the pubs and bars. It has been criticised because it prevents publicans shopping around for the best price deals, although pubcos insist that higher beer prices are balanced out by lower rents and claim that the beer tie contributes to the survival of character pubs. Enterprise Inns, Punch Taverns and Wolverhampton & Dudley gave evidence to the Trade and Industry Select Committee on Tuesday. They claim that the abolition of the beer tie might lead to brewery and pub closures. An industry-wide code of conduct looks likely to become the "perfect compromise", according to ABN Amro, stockbroker to Wolverhampton & Dudley, whose shares dropped 3.3% to 880p. Financial Times 24/07/04 page M5 (Money & Business), page M22 (Stars & Dogs, Money & Business )