Fiscal support is urgently needed from government to end the ‘stand-off' between tenants and landlords over unpaid rent and save jobs, UKHospitality has said.
The trade body has written to chancellor Rishi Sunak, business secretary Alok Sharma, culture secretary Oliver Dowden and communities secretary James Brokenshire, calling for the introduction of relief such as tax credits to incentivise rent waivers, property bounce back bonds to cover lost revenue from the closure period, and the introduction of a furloughed space grant scheme.
UKHospitality has also reiterated its willingness to work with all parties to help deliver an equitable solution and support for the proposed code of practice to facilitate negotiations.
Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "The stalemate on rent, with the June quarterly rent day fast approaching, is the biggest threat to the recovery and future of hospitality.
"We are moving towards the reopening of the sector and many people, both in and out of hospitality, are keen to see businesses open again. Unfortunately, all the good work in keeping businesses afloat during lockdown and the best-laid plans for restarting, could be completely undone by the impasse on rents.
"As things stand, when 24 June comes around, many businesses will not be able to pay. We have lost an entire quarter's revenues to Covid-19 and the prospects for trading from July to September look severely limited. Social distancing measures and expectations of low consumer confidence are going to see businesses trading at a fraction of capacity.
"The current moratorium on forfeiture and enforcement action must be extended until the end of the year, to allow government's proposed code of practice to support negotiations. The reality is, though, we are at a point where the government has to step in and act decisively, otherwise businesses will go under, jobs will be lost, and rent will never get paid."