Punch to offer 75% rent credit from summer

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Ongoing support: Punch Pubs & Co is offering rent credit from July
Ongoing support: Punch Pubs & Co is offering rent credit from July

Related tags: Punch, Coronavirus

Punch Pubs & Co will offer help to tied pubs on substantive agreements from 4 July, with initial support of three quarters (75%) rent credit for July, reduced each month beyond autumn.

The pubco, which has more than 1,000 pubs, added it wanted to see pubs and itself get through the coronavirus pandemic together, sustainably.

This comes after announcing it was continuing the suspension of rent, insurance, fixtures and fittings rental and licensing fees​ amid the crisis.

CEO Clive Chesser said: “As we continue to deal with uncertain timescales, we have maintained a progressive and individual approach to how we can best support all our pubs through the crisis.

“Our initial support was designed to work in tandem with the Government schemes. We immediately deferred all rent and associated costs, while working to understand the individual circumstances of each pub business and have subsequently provided a significant amount of rent support where most needed.

“We are continuing to make decisions on an evolving basis. As the Government support falls away and we plan for the vitally important reopening phase, and looking ahead into what is expected to be an unpredictable trading time for all pubs, we have this week, shared the details of the next stage of our ongoing support with our publicans.

“Together with practical support and guidance, this includes further significant rent support to all tied pubs on substantive agreements from 4 July, with initial support of 75% rent credit for July, tapering down each month into the autumn and beyond.

“Alongside this, we are continuing to defer all rent and associated costs until the point at which, we can safely reopen for business, as well as providing a valuable service and support in a number of other areas, including providing credit for all unopened stock and planning the risks assessment process for all our pubs reopening in a Covid-secure environment.”

Outstanding rent

Chesser added that the business will continue to work with each of its publicans on an individual basis to agree a “fair approach to any balance of rent outstanding, with the long-term sustainability of each pub absolutely remaining our priority”.

He said: “Throughout all this, our aim remains the same and that is to get Punch and our pubs through this global pandemic together, in a sustainable manner.

“We remain fully committed to achieving this goal and stand ready to provide further support in a progressive and dynamic manner as events unfold over time.”

However, Punch tenant of eight years Dermot Loughran, who runs the Three Horseshoes in Leabrooks, Derbyshire, was critical of the pubco's support.

He said: “I've had no support. I've had conversations with them but no support. I’ve been offered 12 weeks full rent and three weeks at no rent.

“[12 weeks full rent] was from 20 March, which is full rent deferred, but I have started paying them a rate."

Reasonable amount

He added: “They need to offer more support, a reasonable level of rent. The rent is based on the income the pub is making.

“If you have no income, then how can the rent be the same? I want the 12 weeks to be based on fair and maintainable trade. If we have to pay something, I'm not agreeing not to pay something.

“For instance, my rent is £379 (a week) so if I had to pay something, if I paid a third of that, I would accept that as a reasonable amount because I have got a grant to pay it.

“Going forward, they have got me in limbo.”

Another licensee said Punch has asked those tenants with a £10,000 Government grant to use 68% of this to pay rent and those with a £25,000 grant to use it to cover part of the rent.

The licensee added that Punch said all beer and cider (other than unopened containers) that have been spoiled since closure will need to be replaced at the licensee’s own expense, at a normal cost from Punch.

They also claimed Punch’s senior management team was ignoring requests from tenants.

Related topics: Punch Pubs & Co

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