Five trade bodies in the UK have collectively called on the government to help solve the rent crisis, the foremost threat faced by restaurants attempting to survive the Covid-19 pandemic.
UK Hospitality, The British Property Federation (BPF), British Retail Consortium (BRC), Revo, and ukactive have together asked the government to introduce a “Property Bounceback Grant” that would help keep restaurants afloat until a more normal service resumes.
The grant would see the government pay half of all owed rent over a six-month period. Doing so, the organisations say, would provide welcome breathing space for owners and would facilitate negotiations between the hospitality industry and landlords.
The directive spread beyond hospitality to retail and leisure sectors too.
“Many landlords and tenants are working collaboratively to agree new payment plans, but there remains a significant proportion of rent unpaid,” the trade bodies said in a joint statement.
“Many businesses will never be able to pay this debt and many landlords cannot afford to sustain losses of this scale.”
Rent is one of the hospitality industry’s biggest outgoings alongside staff costs. While the government has moved to support the industry thus far – with a pause of evictions, grants and loans – the clock is ticking for a longer-term strategy.