Sheffield MP warns more pubs will go out of business without more rent help
A Sheffield MP has spoken out on behalf of local pubs that have been charged full rent throughout the coronavirus pandemic, even when they have been legally forced to close.
Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh said the situation was now ‘completely unsustainable’ for these pubs, which have seen their incomes collapse over the last twelve months.
Even when they have been allowed to open, pubs have been forced to take on more staff and cover other costs, Ms Haigh added, while at the same time serving fewer customers in order to abide by the Government’s social distancing guidance.
Almost 10,000 licensed premises - including pubs, clubs and restaurants - closed permanently last year as the coronavirus crisis took its toll on hospitality, according to a January report by consultants CGA and business advisory firm AlixPartners.
This represented a 175 per cent rise in net closures compared with 2019, and industry body UKHospitality has also estimated that 640,000 jobs were lost across hospitality during the year.
Ms Haigh has written to the pubs’ landlords and the Government watchdog, the Pubs Code Adjudicator, to ask that the pubs are offered ‘a meaningful reduction in rent to help them weather this storm’.
She said: “Even before the pandemic, pubs were closing at an alarming rate but the industry has been absolutely hammered by coronavirus.
“Over the last year, pubs have either been forced to shut down completely or open at much reduced capacity.
“In these circumstances it’s not reasonable to expect them to pay full rent, and their landlords should offer them some respite. If not, we’ll see more pubs forced out of business.
“As well as jobs, pubs provide much-needed community spaces and their loss is keenly felt.
“Even though pubs have started to reopen, their turnover will still be massively restricted because of social distancing and there's no way they will be able to recoup the losses they've suffered over the last year.
“Big pub companies who own our brilliant local pubs should be cancelling their debt from the full rent they've charged whilst they couldn't take any money and allow them to recover."