Leading business support body, the Forum of Private Business has joined the demand trending on social media for pubs forced to close as a result of the coronavirus crisis to be given rent holidays by the PubCo’s.
The Forum wrote to all the main PubCo’s on the 16 March requesting that they play their part in preserving the survival of the sector rather than demanding rental payments notwithstanding that the pubs have had no alternative but to close, and as a result simply have no cashflow to cover rentals.
Additionally the Forum has joined forces with accountancy group Fairmile Accountancy who operate the Facebook group ‘The Pub Owners Network Group’. Through this the Forum is working to share information to impacted pub tenants.
Commenting from the Forum, Chief Executive Ian Cass said, “We are facing the closure of hundreds of pubs up and down the country. The Government has shown its support in several ways which will help enormously, but it is unforgivable then for the PubCo’s not to play their part too. There is a history of the PubCo’s using unfair tactics, in breach of the Pub Code, forcing tenants from their pubs so that they can then realise profits from developing the sites. The attitude of some of the PubCo’s is once again making this a likely outcome, with many communities suffering as a result. We strongly urge the Government to put pressure on all the PubCo’s to do the responsible thing and bring in rental holidays across the board and I have written to Paul Scully, the Small Business Minister accordingly.”
CAMRA also reiterated its call for pub owning companies to cancel rents for licensees during this unprecedented period of uncertainty during the COVID-19 crisis. National Chairman of CAMRA Nik Antona said:
“CAMRA welcomes the move by businesses such as Admiral Taverns and Fullers to cancel rent for their pub tenants in recognition of the unique circumstances we are in.
“We are now calling on other pub owning businesses to follow those examples and listen to the concerns of tenants, and of pubgoers who want their locals to survive this crisis.
“Pub owning companies must cancel rents during this period – deferring until a later date simply doesn’t go far enough. Rent for publicans is based on turnover so it makes sense that when a pub is closed and doesn’t have a turnover they shouldn’t have to pay any rent.
“The Government is rightly offering support to pub owning companies with financial and employment schemes so that staff can still be paid and so that businesses can re-open once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. It is only right that support is passed down to individual licensees in the form of rent holidays to protect their pubs and livelihoods.”