The hospitality industry is calling for a lease forfeiture moratorium – a legally authorised period of delay in the payment of a debt – to allow six months breathing space for businesses forced to close. 

Following the Government’s emergency legislation last week preventing landlords from evicting tenants for at least a three month period, the hospitality industry is calling for similar measure for commercial businesses.

London Union’s Jonathan Downey said: “This is vital for cashflow to save businesses and jobs. Without this moratorium many more jobs will be lost. If locks are changed and premises repossessed, businesses will fail and there will be no employer left to pay over the 80%.

“I am confident that we will get this moratorium because it has to follow now that the Government has prohibited bars, pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants from opening.

“Nothing is more important than this right now and we have to see something in the next few days. Now that we’ve been told we can’t open, we must be given two rent quarter protection from opportunistic landlords.”

Following announcements last week of a business rates holiday, a VAT holiday, the employee protection plan and £330bn loan fund, the lease forfeiture moratorium and a six month debt enforcement moratorium are the final two points in Downey’s six-point demands to support hospitality businesses.