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Publicans to ‘hand in keys’ in rent protest

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Key plea: a licensee has urged the Government to step in and take action on pub rents
Key plea: a licensee has urged the Government to step in and take action on pub rents

Related tags: coronavirus

A multiple site operator is encouraging pubs across the country to ‘hand in their keys’ to their MPs this week, to highlight the pain of paying rent at this time.

Edward Anderson is being charged full rent on the three pubs he operates in Cheltenham and believes the sector needs to accept that the situation with rent has been radically changed by coronavirus.

He has created the Keys2Mps​ campaign, where publicans will implore their local MPs to look into what can be done to help the rent issues faced by many pubs on Friday 22 May.

He said: “There’s no money coming into the system and we need some help as an industry to get through it all or we are going to lose all our tenanted local pubs, restaurants, cafés who aren't helped out by their landlords. 

“Everybody in their towns and villages loves these things. We’re trying to put some strength into the hands of the MPs who realise the problem and can fix it.”

The licensee is going to hand keys to his local MP’s office but others are using social media to symbolically give in their keys and appeal to their representatives. 

Anderson added: “Some landlords don’t want to help, some can’t help. We have talked and asked and negotiated, and lots of businesses won’t survive with the situation as it is.”

He is doubtful that the rent situation will improve, given that pubs will not be able to reopen and trade in the way they did before. 

New normal

He said: “There is a big gap between what landlords need or want and what tenants are able or will be able to pay. It’s bad now but it’s just going to get worse. Places can’t survive on 30% of trade or 50%, or even 70%.

“We’re going to be in a world in three months, six months where this is the end of a lot of hospitality businesses.

“All the places that people love to meet up and they will be gone. The local MPs need to take that information back to where the power is.

“The rents that were set in the old world don’t work when they’re closed and won’t work when they’re restricted.”

Read the latest digital edition of The Morning Advertiser​ – for free – by clicking here​.

Related topics: Property law, UnitedWeStand

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