Pub supporting MP Greg Mulholland has claimed the current pubco model is not working for many licensees and there is a "chill wind blowing" through many company headquarters at the moment.
Speaking at The Publican's Pub Trade Summit yesterday, the outspoken LibDem MP said the big issue was whether consumers were getting choice under the system. He argued that every tied pub should be allowed a guest beer.
Mulholland also made a number of further pleas which he feels would help the industry.
He called for a more "transparent" system for tenants and lessees and said the number of pubs that each company is allowed to own should be looked at.
"Quite simply the current system is not working for many licensees," he told delegates. "And there is a chill-wind blowing through the HQs of a number of pubcos."
Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West, was speaking ahead of the first session next week of an MP-led review of pubco power.
However, defenders of the pubco model argue it is a "robust" system and that more than half the pubs being forced to close are actually freetrade outlets.
Mulholland also urged changes to be made in the planning laws, saying it was an "absurd loophole" that a pub could be demolished without planning permission.
Later Paul Chase, chairman of CPL Training, spoke about the threat posed to the pub trade by the health lobby, which he branded "neo-prohibitionists".
He argued the industry was under threat "like never before" and called for a "co-ordinated and unified" approach from the trade.