Hard-pressed owners of pubs and restaurants will be calling for forbearance on government-backed loans issued during the pandemic when they start falling due from the end of March.

The hospitality industry has warned ministers that loan repayments are due to start just as the downturn is expected to intensify and it may need lenders to give the sector breathing space.

UKHospitality is planning to ask for assistance with repayments on loans taken out under the government’s schemes when it lobbies Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, before the spring budget. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the trade association, said the government could ask banks to be more lenient with borrowers or demand that lenders automatically extend loan repayment terms to applicants.

She warned that the loans had

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