If something isn’t done to deal with the rental backlog, hospitality will see a huge number of business closures, Hugh Osmond has warned.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, the Coppa Club backer said that even with the level of support already offered – like furlough and the VAT cut – vast amounts of operators will not be able to survive without specific rent support.

“Even among the big chains there is no one that has the cash to afford six months of back rent,” he said. “Some of the most enlightened landlords have said that they will give six months rent free but the majority have not, and haven’t even engaged in discussions on rent.

“Even with furlough and not paying rents and rates restaurants still lose money as you have bills to pay for non-furloughed staff, building maintenance, repairs.

“The VAT concession has meant that some businesses that would have lost money at their current prices can just about make money. But it’s the backlog that’s the real issue.”

Fulham Shore Chairman David Page added that across his Franco Manca and The Real Greek brands, although 85% of his landlords are being “reasonable” in offering a waiver, relief or lower rent, “15% are just being stupid and nasty.”

Page has called for an extension of the moratorium for a further six months to encourage landlords to “be reasonable and do deals.”

“This would encourage both parties to thrash out reasonable compromises within that time frame,” he said.

UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls echoed the operators’ concerns, and also emphasised the likely impact that a lack of support will have on both lessees and landlords.

“There remains a huge sum of rent unpaid and many businesses will never be able to pay this debt and many landlords cannot afford to sustain losses of this scale,” she said.

“We need the Government to step in and provide rent support, otherwise we will see more businesses closed and the needless loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.”