Brewers financial support for pubs topped £20m

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Rent cancellations: an organisation representing almost 30 brewers has said they have provided the pub sector with more than £20m financial relief since March
Rent cancellations: an organisation representing almost 30 brewers has said they have provided the pub sector with more than £20m financial relief since March

Related tags: Property, Hall & woodhouse, St austell, Brewer

More than £20m in financial support was provided to pub tenants by the Independent Family Brewers of Britain (IFBB) during lockdown.

The association is made up of 29 historic regional brewers, including Charles Wells, Shepherd Neame and St Austell. 

Since pubs were ordered to close in on 20 March to reduce the spread of Covid-19, brewers have cancelled rent as well as suspended service charges and loan repayments for their tenants.

Moving forward

Family brewer Hall & Woodhouse (H&W) was among those to cancel rent throughout the enforced closure. It said its Business Partner estate would not have to pay rent for the first eight weeks from the 4 July reopening date​ and that the following five weeks’ rent would be charged at 50% the usual rate.

Similarly, Kent-based brewer Shepherd Neame cancelled rent for its licencees throughout the enforced closure, which it said totalled more than £2.5m.​ The brewer said licensees would get a 70% discount on their prevailing contractual rent, effective for four weeks from the 4 July date.

Rick Bailey, chairman of the IFBB and chief executive of Thwaites Brewery said the country’s beer and pub trade had endured an unprecedented crisis and spoke of the need for future investment into the country’s pubs.

He said: “This has been a terrible and worrying time for our tenants and anyone who cares about the Great British pub. This crisis has hit all parts of the hospitality sector hard, but together we must pull through into a brighter future.

Challenging period

“Collectively, IFBB companies have provided over £20m of support for their pub tenants during this crisis, even while sustaining losses elsewhere, and it is likely that we will yet have to do more to help. 

“But we will be there on the other side – supporting landlords to come through this extremely challenging period, protect jobs and of course be successful and prosperous again.”

Bailey praised the Government’s support measures for the trade and said schemes such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) had been “crucial oxygen” during the shutdown period.

Government support

He also said Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s ‘Eat out to help out’ discount scheme was an “innovative” policy.

Speaking after Sunak unveiled measures to protect hospitality jobs, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said rent was one of the biggest threats faced by pub and bar businesses and called on the Government to provide more support on this area.

She said: “This doesn’t mean we are out of the woods, and there are still significant challenges ahead. The biggest of these is the spectre of rent liabilities which many businesses are still facing from their closure period.

"Rent bills have piled up over the past few months even though venues were closed, and businesses are now facing huge rent debts with prospects for the future still in the balance. We are going to need Government support on this before too long."

Related topics: Property law

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