Marston’s is having constructive conversations with its tenants and lessees about rent, with relief concessions being offered where appropriate, CEO Ralph Findlay has said.

Findlay said Marstons’ approach to its 340-strong tenanted and leases estate was “significantly more constructive, flexible and helpful” than most current market practice.

Findlay was defending the pubco against claims from CAMRA chairman Nik Antona that it was not doing enough to support tenants and lessees.

He wrote that the company providing a range of support measures via business development managers (BDMs).

Findlay said: “There is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that governs all situations: many have access to Government support, while others will have partial access depending on whether they trade as limited companies or as sole traders. Some of our leases are commercial leases, where there is no beer tie; the large majority are tied pubs. This is why, for us, a case-by-case approach has to be adopted.”

Findlay said he was disappointed CAMRA had launched a campaign without talking to Marston’s first, but said: “I believe very strongly that we are all in this together”.

As emphasised in a British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) letter, written on behalf of the major pubcos, Findlay pointed to Government support measures tenants and lessees are entitled to, including rates holidays, grants, support with employment cost and a self-employment support scheme.

He said no tenants or lessees were currently paying rent.

The pub CEO asked Antona to judge Marston’s at the end of the crisis, rather than “assuming that we are not doing our best”.

He added: “It is a difficult, fast moving and fluid environment for most at present. There is real hardship among pub operators and many other businesses with few easy solutions, but we are working very hard to ensure that we have a fair approach to all of our stakeholders. We may not be able to satisfy all of them in a way that meets everyone’s hopes and expectations, but we are trying. Nobody has infinite resources.”

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