The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) and British landlords are calling on prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak urgently to freeze rent, rates, mortgages and loans or face empty high streets and a major loss of UK business.
Letters signed by both bodies dated 30 March and addressed to the prime minister and chancellor asked for measures that would give landlords "the financial freedom to allow tenants to get back to business after a period of economic hibernation" and ensure that "the UK's essential businesses that constitute a large proportion of British GDP will survive this crisis".
The letter went on to declare that "landlords are NOT the bad guys. They are British businesses who form an integral and vital part of UK Plc."
The Big Freeze contains a number of additional measures for the government to consider during the coronavirus crisis. Among the proposals is that all financial commitments to banks including mortgages, loans and other financial agreements be frozen "without effect on any current covenants or balances in terms of interest" with commitments being reinstated once the crisis ends.
Mike Kill, NTIA's chief executive said: "While the government has come an enormous distance at the very difficult time, we run the risk of losing a huge amount of our businesses who cannot afford and often do not qualify for further debt in addition to their losses due to the Covid-19 shutdown. Landlords and Tenants are all businesses that UK Plc relies upon. This is now urgent."
Backing #TheBigFreeze initiative is Soho Estates, one of London's largest landlords, whose managing director John James said: "We know that for many tenants, things are enormously difficult currently. That is why we are supporting the Big Freeze. As Landlords, we are a keen stakeholder and part of the community. We know that we must avoid a situation of empty high streets at all costs. We as landlords also have financial commitments as do our tenants. The Big Freeze is a smart solution for all."
Trade association and membership body NTIA launched in 2015 to unite and promote the roles of operators and owners within the night-time sector, including restaurants, bars and clubs.