Edinburgh East MP Tommy Sheppard has today written to pub companies in support of the CAMRA campaign #nopubnorent, calling on them to cancel rents for landlords while pubs are closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The MP, whose constituency includes a significant number of pubs and bars owned by big pub companies, has written to those companies signed up to the voluntary Scottish Pub Code asking them to follow the example of Admiral Taverns Limited who have cancelled April’s rents.
In the letter Mr Sheppard points out that paragraph 25 of the code states “Companies will set out their policy for dealing with requests for assistance from tenants arising from circumstances where it can be demonstrated that their business has been adversely affected by a material change in circumstance beyond their control.”
He continues to say that is hard to think of anything which could be further beyond the control of tenants than closure enforced by the government in response to the current epidemic.
Mr Sheppard commented:“There have been a number of supports put in place for pubs which I welcome but the reality is that if rents are not cancelled landlords will face tens of thousands of pounds in rent arrears with very little prospect of paying these debts off.
“Rents are based on turnover so it is difficult to justify continuing to collect rents when there is no turnover due to all pubs being closed.
“Pubs are a vital part of Edinburgh’s culture and economy and I would hope that pub companies would lead by example helping to ensure that many of our favourite pubs survive the current crisis and are able to spring back into action once it ends.”
CAMRA’s Scotland Director Sarah Crawford said: “Publicans shouldn’t be being charged rent if they have no turnover because they have to stay closed to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Pub company bosses must now do the right thing and cancel rent payments for their tied pub tenants, so our locals can survive this crisis, re-open and thrive in the months and years ahead.”