St Austell CEO Kevin Georgel has told MCA the pub operator and brewer will be accountable for the way it acts towards its tenants during the crisis - “by our tenants and no one else”.

Georgel was speaking in reference to the issue of whether pubcos should cancel rent for the self-employed during the enforced shutdown.

He said he had “yet to be persuaded that a blanket policy is the right policy”, but detailed a set of guiding principles the company had established for working with tenants during the crisis.

He said the company would aim to be “fair, honest, open and transparent”, supporting tenants through the crisis and towards recovery, “as much as we can within the limits of our own finite financial resources

St Austell will seek to understand and respond to different tenants’ circumstances with different levels of support, provide clarity as far out as possible, and keep the situation under constant review.

The tenant team including BDMs will be kept on in their entirety throughout the crisis.

Georgel said St Austell’s tenant liaison group had been “wholeheartedly supportive” of the approach during a consultation.

He told MCA: “We are saying we will be held accountable as to how we behave through this crisis – held accountable by our tenants and no one else. They are our absolute focus at this time

“I take a different view to some of our peers. I’m not persuaded by the lack of certainty as to how long this can go on, the differing levels of support that might be available, and diff circumstance of each of tenant.

“I’m yet to be persuaded that a blanket policy is the right policy.”