Commercial landlords and tenant groups have urged the Government to introduce a new Property Bounceback Grant for those firms at risk of going under.
Groups including the British Property Federation and British Retail Consortium believe a grant scheme would facilitate negotiations and solve the rent crisis looming over the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
They say that without financial support, both tenants and landlords face business failure, hundreds of thousands of job losses, and long-lasting damage to high streets across the UK.
The Government would fund up to 50% of rent and services charges owed by businesses while grants would be conditional on agreement by the landlord and tenant to account for the remaining 50% of the rent.
According to data published last week by Remit Consulting, commercial landlords were still owed 36% of quarterly rent due on 26th June.
The Government says it’s already delivered a package of around £160bn of support, including loans, rates relief and grants for businesses to help them survive.
But the groups believe that funding the scheme for just six months would cost the Government £1.75bn, while the total return to the Treasury in terms of tax revenue from economic activity would be almost £7bn, and 375,000 jobs would be saved – a return on investment of almost 400%.
In a joint statement the trade bodies say: “Many retail, leisure and hospitality businesses across the UK have been closed for months. Even where they have reopened, footfall remains down significantly on pre-coronavirus levels.
“Similarly, landlords have been walking a tightrope to support their customers and protect the pensions and savings of millions of people invested in commercial property across the country.
“Without urgent action on rents, many otherwise viable businesses are, through no fault of their own, at imminent risk of failure.”