Everards cancels April and May rent payments

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Help still needed: Everards MD Stephen Gould has called on the Government for further support
Help still needed: Everards MD Stephen Gould has called on the Government for further support

Related tags: Coronavirus

Historic pub company and brewery Everards has cancelled its business owner rent payments for April and May.

In addition, the group has also furloughed 70% of employees on full pay, which will be reviewed at the end of May.

Directors’ salaries have also been cut by an average of 30% and the full year dividend payment to shareholders has been cancelled.

The Everards Family Foundation has donated £50,000 to Age UK Leicestershire & Rutland, where funds will support older people in the local community, who find themselves in greater need during the Covid-19 crisis.

Managing director Stephen Gould told licensees about the rent cancellation via video and said: “We are aware the provision of Government grants for some business owners was put in place to contribute to business expenses, including rent.

“However, wage support payments are only being processed in the next few days (so cash for wages had to be provided by business owners to date) and about 30% of grants are yet to be paid so it is viewed to be too early to consider charging a proportion of grants received to rent.” This will also be reviewed again at the end of next month (May).

Call to Government

The construction of Everards’ new brewery will continue. Building company Kier Construction has implemented additional social distancing measures and work within the site operating procedures drawn up by the Construction Leadership Council aligned with the latest Public Health England guidance.

The business said it expects the building to be completed by November. Everards has decided to delay the fit-out of the beer hall and offices until early next year and plans to open to the public in spring 2021.

Looking forward, Gould highlighted how the business was encouraging local authorities to process the payment of grants to all eligible business owners by the end of April.

He also called for the Government to act now to support licensees running pubs with a rateable value of more than £51,000 and are not receiving grants.

Careful thought

Gould welcomed the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme​ and hoped to see further plans to support sector jobs for the length of the pub closures but also, once they are open again as increased social distancing measures would continue to impact business owner’s income.

He added: “The plan to come out of lockdown needs really careful thought. A rushed approach makes no sense for anyone and we support the British Beer & Pub Association’s call for a minimum of three, ideally four, weeks’ notice​.

“If pubs are to be one of the last sectors to come out of lockdown then a new, refreshed package of Government financial support for the pub industry needs to be created and communicated by the end of May.

“In turn, this will give companies, business owners and their communities confidence and belief in a bright future for pubs.”

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