Image Source: Herry Lawford
Broadgate, in London, is one of the retail centres owned by British Land.
Chloe Shakesby

British Land clears £3m of rent to support "hardest hit" small businesses

A UK real estate investment trust has announced that it is releasing small businesses from rental obligations for three months.

British Land, which owns a number of retail centres, announced today that it will not charge smaller retail, food and beverage and leisure customers rent for their venues from April until June this year.

This comes following the closure of hundreds of businesses due to the coronavirus outbreak, and the impact of social distancing on those able to keep trading.

The company said that this will have an impact of around £3m on its finances, but that its “immediate priority is to support those customers who are being hardest hit”.

It also said that it will defer rent payments for the March quarter for larger businesses to be repaid over the six quarters from September 2020, which it estimates will total deferrals of around £40m.

The company commented: “Our primary focus through this exceptionally challenging period is to ensure our people and their families are safe, our assets are securely maintained, and we are protecting the long-term value of our business.

“A core part of this involves working closely with our customers and suppliers to support them.

“We have worked consistently over several years to ensure that British Land has a strong and robust financial footing and we are now benefiting from that.”

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