Pedigree brewer and pub operator Marston’s cited “focused” food and cask ale sales for an improved first-half performance.

Volumes of premium ale at its brewing arm rose 4% for the past six months. Meanwhile, drinks sales in its estate of 491 pubs rose for the first time since 2007.

Chief executive Ralph Findlay said while the signs of growth and recovery were positive, the company needed to adopt a cautious approach for the rest of the year.

"It's clear to us that there has been something of a recovery, but we also have to be cautious that this could be threatened by the tax-rising efforts of whichever government comes in,” Findlay said.

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