Cancel rents to save pubs

pub, bar, drink

CAMRA has mobilised its 190,000 members to urge pub company bosses to cancel rents for closed pubs. It has also recently called for rent bills to be dramatically reduced for tied pubs when they re-open under social distancing restrictions. The CAMRA – Bradford Branch supports these campaigns and extends this to commercial property landlords to urge them to also cancel and reduce rents for pubs.

At a time when pubs have been forced to close by the Government, it is unfair to ask publicans to pay rent when they are not receiving any income. The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has estimated that 40% of pubs may not survive beyond September. To help pubs and minimise the risk of closures, there is a need for the relaxation and removal of the current COVID-19 social distancing requirements, as soon as this is possible, and financial pressures on pubs must be reduced.

In a press release issued on 29 May 2020, CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona explained “Lockdown has made people realise just how much they value their local pubs. It is essential they are given the help they need to survive, not just the lockdown, but also the social distancing measures when they re-open. This is vital of these pubs are to make it through the next few months when social distancing measures are in place. Pubs will be operating at reduced turnover so won’t be able to cope with rent arrears and other debts accruing if they are being charged full rent. If many tied pubs are to avoid permanent closure, they will need continuing help with rent payments”. Further to this, the situation also extends beyond those pubs that are tied to pub companies.

Peter Down, Deputy Chairman of the CAMRA – Bradford Branch, said “To say that the COVID-19 restrictions have had an impact on the hospitality and entertainments trades would be a huge understatement. In particular, the Great British Institution, the pub, has been massively affected. Since the order to close was given by the Government on Friday 20 March 2020, pubs have not been able to open and trade as they would normally. Whilst pubs are closed, the majority are not able to generate any income.”

“Many have been missing their local pub over the last few months. They are social hubs and greatly help the well-being of people. The current pub closures, whilst understandable given the current COVID-19 situation, has emphasised the key role pubs play in people’s lives and their importance to the communities they serve. The risk of many of these permanently closing as a result of the pressures currently being placed on them, including in terms of ongoing rent demands, should be avoided.”

The Bradford Branch of CAMRA requests all pub companies, commercial landlords and others to cancel rents to pubs during the current COVID-19 restrictions and to continue this, or offer reduced rents, when pubs can re-open, until such time as the restrictions can be removed entirely.

More information on the CAMRA campaign to help save the British pub by cancelling pub rents during the current COVID-19 restrictions can be found at:
https://camra.org.uk/covid-19-response/save-pubs-cancel-rents/

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