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Over 330,000 hospitality jobs at risk if rent protections removed

Published:  05 May, 2021

Over 330,000 hospitality jobs are at risk if rent protections are removed this summer, with £2.5bn in rent debt hanging around the neck of the industry, UK Hospitality (UKH) has warned. 

The trade body said that if if the current protections that are in place are removed this summer, new analysis estimated that a sixth of the remaining hospitality workforce – equivalent to 332,000 jobs -  could be lost.

This would be in addition to the hundreds of thousands of jobs already lost during the course of the pandemic, it said.

Released today, the research found that half of operators surveyed said they had not had a rent reduction from their landlord, despite prolonged periods of closure and over a year of punitive trading restrictions. 

Other key findings include 52% having not been given any extension to pay rent; 73% saying they are either unable or don’t know how they can pay their rent arrears; and 40% having not been able to reach a deal with their landlord over rent concessions.

“Our survey shows that while a proportion of operators have been able to strike a deal with their landlords on payment of rent debt, for many there have been no concessions and little engagement on the issue,” said Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKH

“The issue of rent debt must be resolved in a way that shares the burden as businesses simply cannot be expected to pay their rent arrears in full,” she said, reiterating the trade body’s call for the government to “take affirmative action” to help hospitality rebuild and play its part in the economic recovery. 

“There has to be a sharing of the pain caused by lockdowns and trading restrictions. Government must extend and expand protections until the end of the year, and force the writing off of a fair amount of Covid rent debt. The removal of protections would be disastrous and result in a huge increase in enforcement activity – meaning business failures and hundreds of thousands of jobs lost,” she said. 

Recent research revealed that a staggering £80.8bn of hospitality sales have been lost in the past 12 months.