According to the latest survey of UKHospitality members, tackling rent arrears is critical to the future health of the sector, which accounted for 10% of UK employment before the outbreak. The £2.5 billion rent debt hanging over the hospitality industry threatens the future of thousands of businesses and more than 330,000 jobs. UKHospitality pointed out that more than half of the operators surveyed said their landlord had not reduced their rent, despite being closed for an extended period and having been subject to punitive trading restrictions for more than a year. There were other important findings:
– 52% of respondents have not been given any extension to pay rent,
– 73% are either unable or don’t know how they can pay their rent arrears
– 40% have not been able to reach a deal with their landlord over rent concessions.
One sixth of all jobs in the hospitality sector (or 332 000 jobs) could be lost if the current safeguard measures are lifted in the summer. This would be in addition to the hundreds of thousands of jobs already lost during the pandemic.
Our partner Association UKHospitality has the following views:
Although some operators have managed to reach an agreement with the landlord on the payment of rent arrears, many have made no concessions and little commitment to the issue. The issue of rent debt must be resolved in a way that shares the burden as businesses simply cannot be expected to pay their rent arrears in full.
„The Government must take affirmative action to help hospitality rebuild and play its part in the economic recovery. There has to be a sharing of the pain caused by lockdowns and trading restrictions. Government must extend and expand protections until the end of the year, and force the writing off of a fair amount of Covid rent debt. The removal of protections would be disastrous and result in a huge increase in enforcement activity – meaning business failures and hundreds of thousands of jobs lost.”