Leicestershire-based pubco Everards has cancelled £3m in rent to protect its licensees through the pandemic.

Since March, the group made the decision to cut the rents for its 168 pub tenants, on top of crediting the owners for beer that they were unable to sell.

Over the past eight months, the move has totalled more than 50% of Everards normal rent roll, and the cancellations have continued through October and into November.

The announcement came as the businesses revealed it was in development to open a new brewery headquarters opposite Fosse Park shopping centre off the M1 in March next year, which is running just seven weeks behind schedule.

Despite the impact of lockdown and upcoming uncertainty, the company has plans to build a 50-80 room hotel on the 70-acre site, which backs onto the River Soar and will create around 40 new jobs.

To date, the pandemic has impacted the group’s operating margins by about £7m, managing director Stephen Gould revealed.

“The pub estate itself has been tremendously resilient,” he told Business Live. “We have 168 business owners who have been so resourceful over the past few months and they are aware that with our support that can continue in the coming months.

“Right now we have just two vacancies, which is remarkable after seven months of lockdown.

“I think the hospitality industry has done a fantastic job and has been under undue pressure from the Government, but we are all in this together.

“A covid-compliant pub is a very safe place to go and a haven for people to enjoy a social environment.”