UKHospitality has welcomed the announcements of an extension of the lease forfeiture moratorium and a future Government call for evidence on potential interventions to encourage the resolution of rent debt.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “Extending the moratorium is a sensible and positive step by the Government. It was really the only option for businesses that are on the brink of reopening but have piled up so much rent debt over the past year.
“It is even more encouraging to see the Government issuing a call for evidence on the possibility of additional measures to solve the rent crisis. Rent debt has spiralled to unmanageable levels for too many businesses through no fault of their own. We have reached an impasse that threatens the survival of many businesses right at the moment that they are looking to reopen and rebuild.
“The Government’s suggestion of a phased approach and targeted legislation could provide the flexibility combined with the incentive our businesses need. We hope that this motivates landlords to come to the table with meaningful concessions. Refusal to do so would force the Government to go down the legislative route, which would cause greater delays and trigger further business closures, even upon reopening, due to unsustainable levels of debt with no end in sight.
“UKHospitality has been long calling for a Government-brokered solution to the problem. We must find a mutually agreeable solution that works for all parties involved – tenants, landlords and investors.Tenants have borne the brunt of the pain of closure so far and it is clear that others need to take their share, too. It is integral to the future of the UK’s hospitality sector and high streets across the country, which we hope will drive the economic recovery of the country.We hope the Government investigates this avenue of approach. It must also now extend the insolvency moratorium to provide full protection.”