CAMRA calls for rent slash to ensure pubs survive reopening

Large pub company bosses need to scrap or dramatically reduce rent payments to help save pubs survive the rest of the year.

That’s the message from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), which represents nearly 190,000 beer drinkers and pub goers across the UK.

CAMRA has written to bosses at some of the country’s largest pub companies urging them to scrap, or dramatically reduce, rents for tied pub tenants when pubs re-open.

Whilst the UK Government has said pubs in England are set to be allowed to re-open from early July, pubs won’t be able to operate to the same level of business they did before lockdown, as they’ll be complying with social distancing measures.

With pubs set to trade at much reduced levels, CAMRA believes it isn’t fair for tied licensees to be charged full rent payments from pub companies.

Pub company Greene King recently announced they will be giving their tenants a 90% reduction in rent for eight weeks as of 11th June, followed by a 50% reduction for the following four weeks.

The Campaign has now written to big pub companies Marston’s, Star Pubs and Bars, EI Group/Stonegate and Punch Taverns to ask them to announce similar rent reductions for pubs that are reopening.

The organisation also wants help for pubs that can’t re-open because their premises are unsuitable and can’t be used safely under social distancing rules. Tied pub licensees in Scotland and Wales will also need more help with rents once the Scottish and Welsh governments lift restrictions and allow pubs to re-open.

CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona explained, “Pub tenants desperately need help with their rent bills. Greene King’s announcement last week is a small step in the right direction – tenants will need rent support for the rest of the year to help their pubs stay viable. That’s why we have written to other large pub companies and challenged them to announce more rent support for their tenants.

“Lockdown has made people realise just how much they value their local pubs. It is essential they are given the help they need to survive not just the lockdown, but also the social distancing measures when they re-open.

“This is vital if these pubs are to make it through the next few months when social distancing measures in place. Pubs will be operating at reduced turnover so won’t be able to cope with rent arrears and other debts accruing if they are being charged full rent.

“CAMRA members across the country stand ready to support pubs to make sure they survive and thrive in the months ahead - but if many tied pubs are to avoid permanent closure they will need continuing help with rent payments.”