Hawthorn Leisure to cover rent for closed pubs

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Insufficient backing: 'The Government support offered to pubs in tier three in England, and to those affected by widespread closures in Scotland, and the Fire Break in Wales from this Friday, simply does not go far enough,' Hawthorn boss Mark Davies explained
Insufficient backing: 'The Government support offered to pubs in tier three in England, and to those affected by widespread closures in Scotland, and the Fire Break in Wales from this Friday, simply does not go far enough,' Hawthorn boss Mark Davies explained

Related tags: Hawthorn leisure, Pubco + head office, Tenanted + leased, Finance, Coronavirus

New River REIT’s pub arm, Hawthorn Leisure, has revealed that pubs shuttered under the Government’s tier three measures, Wales’ ‘fire break’ lockdown and Scottish restrictions will receive a 100% rent credit.

The operator of more than 700 leased, tenanted and operator managed pubs across the UK revealed that pubs in tier three, or subject to enforced closure, will have their rent credited at 100% for an initial four week period, at which point the operator states that it would expect Government support to increase. 

A statement from Hawthorn added that venues in tier two will be offered rent relief ranging from 33% to 80% based on the affordability of their rent against turnover, while tier one sites continue to be eligible for a support grant from the operator meaning they can apply for individual support where they are not able to meet all outgoings. 

Approximately half of Hawthorn’s pubs are currently under tier one, or “medium” measures – the baseline restrictions in place across England including the 10pm curfew and “rule of six” – while roughly 25% fall under more stringent tier two restrictions banning household mixing indoors.

What’s more, a further 25% of Hawthorn’s pubs face potential closure either under tier three measures, Wales’ “fire break” lockdown​, or restrictions in Scotland which saw pubs in five healthboard areas​, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, close for a 16-day period from Friday 9 October.

Hawthorn’s rent credit announcement comes a matter of days after Heineken’s pub arm, Star Pubs & Bars, announced that pubs in areas restricted by the Government’s ‘very high’ alert level will not have to pay rent​.

Support ‘does not go far enough’ 

Hawthorn Leisure’s latest rent relief comes after the operator offered a 100% rent credit in July and August to any of its pubs that had made a contribution to their rent during lockdown

“Hawthorn continues to offer support to all our pubs, and we are monitoring the impacts of each of the UK government announcements closely,” Hawthorn CEO Mark Davies explained. 

“The Government support offered to pubs in tier three in England, and to those affected by widespread closures in Scotland, and the Fire Break in Wales from this Friday, simply does not go far enough.  

“Pubs still have to cover all normal overheads and ensure there is food on the tables of their own families at the end of the week.  

“The grants made available by the various Governments, whilst welcome, fail to cover the weekly overheads most businesses encounter.

“We are also offering all of our Partners the chance to co-invest with us through our ‘Partner Investment Fund’ where we will match every £1 spent up to £5,000 each, which does not need to be repaid,” Davies continued. 

“This is to help improve outside space and increase internal covers to enable our pubs to maximise their trading opportunity against the ever-changing restrictions in place.”

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