Prior to Rishi Sunak’s mini-Budget, the British Property Federation (BPF), Revo, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and UKHospitality called on the government to introduce a Furloughed Space Grant Scheme, based on a similar scheme in Denmark.

The initial proposal was revised after the government indicated the scheme was too expensive, with the cost more equally shared between government, tenant and landlord. But the chancellor opted to back VAT cuts and Eat Out to Help Out in an attempt to support the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors instead.

Industry leaders said the news had come as a major blow. “We were disappointed that the chancellor didn’t take the opportunity to say something tangible to support retail and hospitality, but it’s still under consideration and still under discussion,” said BPF chief executive Melanie Leech. “My interpretation is that they want to see more data come through from June quarter day. But I think the evidence is clear that rental collection is still depressed.”

BRC property policy adviser Dominic Curran said cost might still be a sticking point for the government. “It’s not in the bin, but it’s not on the table either. The government thinks it’s spent enough money,” he said. “I hope it would recognise the economic benefits of spending a relatively small amount to keep otherwise viable companies trading, paying their taxes and employing tens of thousands of people.”

Revo chief executive Vivienne King underlined the need for urgent action to “prevent the distress escalating through the payment chain beyond operators and property owners to lenders, pensions funds and the savers that rely on property income”.

She added: “It was a disappointment that there was no reflection of this in the mini-Budget, but we continue to press for it. The chancellor pledged to protect, support and create jobs. The reality is hundreds of thousands of jobs remain in jeopardy if there is not direct support on rents.”

The renewed calls for action come as Property Week reveals that almost 70% of the industry does not think the new commercial code of practice is fit for purpose.