MPs host pub landlords' Sky Sport protest



Pub landlords last night lobbied MPs to protest at proposed increases in the price they must pay to show Sky Sports programmes and called on the office of fair trading to investigate BSkyB's recent rise in subscription costs.

The All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, which has more than 300 members, played host to a delegation from the licensed pubs and clubs trade, which believes BSkyB is squeezing too much from them.

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, present at last night's meeting, says the price charged by BSkyB for a pub subscription has risen 239% since 1996 to £4,980.

The price of the BBC licence has increased 30% to £116 over the same period, while the average price of a pint of beer has gone up by 23%.

Pub landlords say they may not be able to afford this month's 22% price increase, and may be forced to cancel their subscription to the football channel.

Earlier this year Martyn Jones, Labour MP for Clywd South, tabled an early day motion warning that many pubs and clubs across Britain would stop showing live football if BSkyB went ahead with the increase.

"Sport on TV is one of a range of entertainments offered by pubs to customers and we offer football at a very fair price and value," a BSkyB spokesperson said.