The current situation with regards to rent is “like a scene from Monty Python”, according to Roger Wade, chief executive, Boxpark.

“It’s a shambles,” he said, speaking on MCA’s The Conversation. “In reality we are in the same position as we were at the beginning of lockdown.”

“We need to have complete clarity when it comes to the rent situation,” he told host and MCA contributing editor Peter Martin. “Unless we do something about it we are going to have mass CVAs and administrations at the end of the rent moratorium.”

Wade said he was in the unusual situation of being a landlord and an operator, but that he had been in a lucky position in that Boxpark had been able to take the position from the outset to give all of its tenants 100% rent free periods during lockdown.

“We did that because we didn’t believe our guys would survive. We believed the most important thing was that they reopened,” he said.

But Wade added that as its principle business is as an operator of bars, he could see the argument from both sides. “I think some of the early rhetoric from the hospitality industry to landlords was not helpful. The us and them attitude. We need to work closely with landlords and the government.”

Wade said he believed that the majority of operators were “battle weary” after a really tough 18 months, and that it was stifling some of the entrepreneurial flair seen previously by its operators.

“The reality is we are not out of the woods yet – I think there is a long way to go,” he said.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive, UKHospitality, said rent was “the biggest outstanding battle by a country mile”, but that she believes “we are moving rapidly towards a conclusion on this.”

Nicholls said that while government was working “at pace” on the this, she believed it was inevitable that support in the form of the rent moratoriums would be extended. “Just simply because the government doesn’t have time legislatively to be able to put in place a route map out of them before them, but we are talking about how you do that,” she said.

Nicholls added that there were good discussions taking place with government about future strategy and what needs to be done to help the industry bridge the period between reopening and the recovery, growth and renaissance phases.

The government is also due to publish a hospitality recovery strategy, aligned with the tourism recovery strategy, she added. “I am heartened by the fact that ministers see this as a reset moment that you can look again at the busines rates regime, to make that fit for purpose and also the landlord and tenant act. Two pieces of legislation that are very outdated,” said Nicholls.

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