The hospitality industry has urged the government to ban commercial landlord sanctions, as pubs and restaurants are facing a multi-million pound rent bill due this week.
Pubs, bars and restaurants, which suffered a dramatic drop in footfall before they were forced to close on Friday night to slow the spread of coronavirus, are preparing to pay rent on Wednesday.
The sector has called on the government to ban commercial landlord sanctions and debt enforcement, in measures similar to those announced for residential renters.
UK Hospitality has urged the government to take swift action to announce these new measures either today or tomorrow, to allow businesses to reserve cash until they receive their first payments under the recently announced job retention scheme.
UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The reality is that this is a critical week for bars and restaurants – and another incredibly difficult one. Our analysis suggests the quarter rent day for bars and restaurants is worth billions of pounds. This is money that simply isn’t in the system and most businesses cannot pay.
“We want to work with landlords and government to find solutions. We are asking government to look at extending the legal moratorium on forfeiture to include commercial leases – to protect lessees, landlords and most importantly help support and pay our staff.
“This will give us the time we need to negotiate and to focus on our teams. This remains the single biggest obstacle for the sector and unless we find a solution to this issue, it could undermine all of the Government’s great work to date.”