Positive action is needed to help retail businesses meet rent demands as they continue to recover from the covid-19 crisis, the British Independent Retailers Association says.
It is backing the British Retail Consortium’s proposals for a Property Bounceback Grant after exclusive research revealed independent retailers were concerned about paying their rent while trade struggled to return to pre-lockdown levels.
Under the BRC’s proposals, a government grant scheme would be established to bridge the gap between what tenants can pay and what landlords can forego, following negotiations based on the Government Code of Practice.
According to the draft document, the grant would cover rent and service charges for properties in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors that have been required to close by the Government. A grant amount will be awarded where tenant and landlord have come to a mutual agreement on their rent arrangements.
The BRC says a similar scheme has been adopted in Denmark to help both tenants and landlords through recovery.
Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said: “Many retailers need more support with rental payments if we are to avoid even more job losses and potential business failures.
“The research shows that independent retailers have real concerns about future rental payments and the attitude of landlords.
“It is clear that retailers need ongoing support as they continue adjust their business to current trading conditions, which as we all know are not easy.
“We have seen some new proposals from the BRC regarding government support for rental payments and Bira supports this initiative.
“We have been raising concerns about rental payments for some time and positive action is needed.”