Retail sector calls for the Government to introduce a ‘rent relief’ scheme
Some experts in the retail sector are urging the Government to introduce a ‘rent relief’ scheme to help businesses cope with the impact of COVID-19.
The current lockdown measures mean that many businesses, such as those in the retail and leisure sector, have closed, with income diminishing and pressure increasing on many firms.
Under the Government’s lockdown plan, many hospitality businesses will be allowed to open from 4 July (at the earliest, and subject to change or delay), but experts have stated that many businesses will not be able to reopen safely until much later in the year.
As a result, many are now calling for the Government to protect those businesses as they ensure that they can open safely, with finances becoming a significant challenge.
With businesses having to enforce social distancing measures when they do open, this presents a challenge to many, whether that’s in an office setting, a retail setting or in a restaurant or a business such as a cinema.
Phil Clapp, Head of the UK Cinema Association, said: “Either of those (a rent relief scheme or semi-statutory rent holiday) would be hugely valuable for our sector as there’s a real danger otherwise that the moratorium the Government announced only kicks the can down the road.”
“It will take a period of several months, even to the end of the year, before the business starts to approach anything like it would have pre-lockdown. That would give time to defray those costs over a much longer period.”
The Government recently introduced new legislation that temporarily bans property owners from taking legal action against tenants, but with focus now on how businesses can begin to open in accordance with the plans announced last week, pressure is growing for further support to ensure the future prosperity of many businesses.
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