Kate Nicholls, head of UKHospitality, has welcomed the government’s nine month extension of the rent moratorium – stating that the move will “banish a grim shadow” that has hung “menacingly” over hospitality since the pandemic began 15 months ago.
The decision, which was announced yesterday by Stephen Barclay MP, the chief secretary to the Treasury, will provide relief for thousands of hospitality businesses that were facing rent bills from 1 July when the current moratorium on evictions for unpaid rent was set to end.
UKHospitality estimates there is currently around £2.5bn in rent arrears built up by hospitality firms during the course of the pandemic.
Nicholls first called for an extension earlier this week when the government announced a four week delay to the final stage of easing lockdown restrictions.
She said: “The legislation will form a strong bedrock for negotiated and fair settlements that can help heal the damage that the pandemic has wrought, and is a hugely positive signal that the government has been listening to our sector, and acted to ease its plight.
“Thankfully, many landlords and tenants have managed to come to an amicable arrangement over rent arrears, but many could not and the government’s announcement brings in an equitable solution where there is a sharing of the pain.”
She added: “These are unprecedented measures but wholly merited and justified in these unprecedented times, bringing some stability back to an uncertain and unsettled property market. At last, this existential crisis for hospitality looks like reaching a fair conclusion, easing a path to recovery for a sector that can help the national economy back to prosperity.”