A former director of the brewery company Marston's has said Britain's growing Muslim population is one of the main reasons for pub closures.
Lord Hodgson, of Astley Abbotts, made the point while arguing recent industry moves to allow landlords tied to big firms to demand rent-only agreements were misguided.
He said “socio-economic factors”, such as a growing number of teetotal Muslims living in Britain, played a much bigger role in the decline in pubs than “rapacious owners”.
A recent amendment to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill will see tenant landlords able to opt out of being required to sell only alcohol provided by their pub company.
But the Tory peer said the issue was not as “simple and straightforward” as some thought.
He said: “Twenty-five years ago, the company of which I was a director would have operated probably a dozen pubs in Kidderminster, the home of the carpet trade,” he said.
“The carpet trade has gone and there are three pubs left.
“In areas of Nottingham, Leicester, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham the increase in the Muslim population, who don’t drink, leads to many pub closures.
"The tide is running against the ordinary pub.”