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Inimitable Business

Ministers weigh up hospitality rescue over billions in unpaid rent

The Telegraph revealed over the weekend that a slew of pubs, including Greene King and Mitchells & Butlers, had written to the Treasury to call for further support.

In a letter to Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, bosses representing more than 150,000 workers said the reintroduction of business rates from the end of July and removal of the rent moratorium from June 30 “would unleash a wave of business failures”.

It is estimated that around 660,000 people lost their jobs in the hospitality industry last year, despite support from the taxpayer-funded furlough scheme.

Pubs have been particularly concerned over missing the Euros football tournament, which would be expected to result in a significant sales bump.

Current guidelines could require customers to remain at their tables and wear masks when moving around the pubs. The Beer & Pub Association said an extra 40m pints of beer were sold in pubs on top of normal trade during the 2018 World Cup.

A government spokesman said: “We understand these are extremely challenging circumstances for the hospitality industry.

“We are committed to supporting jobs and businesses as we build back better from the pandemic, which is why we continue to provide an extensive package of support such as the Pay As You Grow repayment holidays and are considering responses to a Call for Evidence on commercial rents.”