The Global Mutual Tenants Association has penned a letter to Scully demanding that pressure be put on the hedge fund to offer rent relief to tenants who were required to pay rent throughout the 105-day period of Government enforced closure.
Protesters will march to Global Mutual’s office to hand over a letter on behalf of all affected tenants requesting rent relief mirroring that provided by other large pub companies before heading to Parliament to deliver a letter to Scully requesting that he both intervene in the Global Mutual negotiations and extend the Pubs Code remit to cover all pub owning businesses.
As previously reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA), more than £20m in financial support was collectively provided to pub tenants by the 29 members of the Independent Family Brewers of Britain (IFBB) – which operate more than 3,000 pubs – during lockdown
What’s more, a number of larger pub companies have provided tens of millions in Covid-19 rent relief, with Ei Publican Partnerships’ rent support recently passing the £32.5m mark and Heineken’s pub arm, Star Pubs & Bars, investing in the region of £25m, for example.
Unreasonable and unsustainable demands
“Notwithstanding the support of the Forum of British Pubs, our very reasonable requests have been rebuffed and this multi-million-pound company continues to make unreasonable and unsustainable rental demands on businesses that have been severely damaged by Covid and lockdown,” Dave Mountford said on behalf of the Global Mutual Tenants Association.
“We believe that the behaviour of Global Mutual makes it clear that the Pubs Code should include any business that owns pubs, however large or small, as it is clear to us that one of the unintended consequences of the legislation was the sale of large groups of pubs to property companies who only interest is the sale of the pubs for maximum return, which would always be alternative use as a pub,” he added.
Offers of support
However, a statement issued by Global Mutual outlined that it has committed £4.4m worth of support during the ongoing pandemic and that a small group of its tenants were refusing to communicate "as individual businesses".
"We are very aware that all of our pub operators are affected particularly badly by the Covid pandemic and are experiencing significant personal and business stress in this global crisis," the hedge fund explained. "Our overall aim is to help these businesses to find ways to survive the crisis and then go on to thrive again.
"The pub businesses in our portfolio are very disparate, ranging from food-led rural pubs with seasonal variations to town centre bars and inner-city nightclubs. Each pub has received varying levels of Government support during the pandemic.
"We are working closely with our 287 independent pub tenants to provide tailor-made solutions and financial support packages for their individual businesses. 90% of them have engaged with us and we have committed £4.4m of support to date which has included rent free periods and payment plans.
"Despite our offers of support, a small number of tenants are choosing to act as a group and refusing to communicate with us as individual businesses. We would encourage these tenants to work with us directly so that we can ensure they are provided with the financial assistance that is relevant to their unique business and commercial arrangements."