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Night-time businesses team up with landlords to call for additional government measures to save venues, clubs, bars and restaurants

By | Published on Thursday 2 April 2020

Night Time Industries Association

The Night Time Industries Association has teamed up with representatives of many of its members’ landlords to call for new measures from the UK government to help clubs, venues and other night-time businesses hit by the COVID-19 shutdown.

It’s part of a moves to mitigate the financial strain on live entertainment and hospitality businesses that are currently closed as a result of measures to restrict and delay the spread of COVID-19. Reducing rent commitments to landlords is a big part of that but, the NTIA recognises, many landlords have their own financial commitments that need to be acknowledged.

To that end, the trade group is calling on government to instigate new measures to help everyone in the supply chain that will, ultimately, ensure the survival of night-time businesses currently facing a “life or death situation”. Dubbed the ‘big freeze’, the NTIA’s proposal is that “all financial commitments to banks in terms of mortgages, loans and financial agreements be frozen, without effect on any current covenants or balances in terms of interest”.

Those commitments would, of course, be reinstated once the crisis period ends but, “during this period no debt will be accrued”. The NTIA goes on: “It is important to recognise that the financial position of each business will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and will be supported through this system accordingly, ensuring that the correct levels of support will be given to businesses which are at risk”.

This scheme, it says, “will give landlords the financial freedom to allow tenants to get back to business after a period of economic hibernation, ensuring that many of the UK’s essential businesses that constitute a large proportion of British GDP will survive this crisis”.

Commenting on his organisation’s collaboration with landlords on this call to government, NTIA CEO Mike Kill says: “It is fantastic news that so many landlords from across the UK have joined with us at this very difficult time. We are, of course, all in this together which is why the NTIA and many British landlords are asking the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to adopt the ‘big freeze’ urgently”.

“While the government has come an enormous distance at the very difficult time”, he added, “we run the risk of losing a huge amount of our businesses who cannot afford and often do not qualify for further debt in addition to their losses due to the COVID-19 shutdown. Landlords and tenants are all businesses that UK PLC relies upon. This is now urgent”.

Lending his support to the NTIA’s proposal, the MD of London property owner Soho Estates, John James, added: “As one of London’s largest landlords in an area of high concentration, we at Soho Estates have been around long enough to have seen several recessions. This is different. We know that, for many tenants, things are enormously difficult currently. That is why we are supporting the ‘big freeze'”.

“As landlords, we are a keen stakeholder and part of the community”, he went on. “We know that we must avoid a situation of empty high streets at all costs. We as landlords also have financial commitments as do our tenants. The ‘big freeze’ is a smart solution for all”.