Editor: It has been possible for large high street chains such as Boots, H&M, and JD Sports to take advantage and avoid paying rent for as long as possible, regardless of whether they could do so, given their apparent financial strength.

JD Sports

Source: Shutterstock/Julius Kielaitis

Smaller landlords would not try to evict the bigger chains for non-payment of rent anyway in circumstances where there is no better tenant to replace them, thus leaving potential voids and business rates liabilities to pay for.

Large retailers, especially supermarkets, have also been criticised for claiming business rates relief even where they have seen increased profits and done the best of all the sectors since the first lockdown in March 2020.

A better and fairer approach would surely be to base any new rules on a different method entirely, such as the methods used with the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which is based on turnover.

Preventing smaller but viable businesses from being evicted at this point in time is a laudable objective; allowing larger businesses to ‘game’ the system should have been stamped on by the government already.

David Wadsworth, partner, JMW Solicitors