MP signs letter of support for wedding venues
David Warburton, MP for Somerton & Frome has co-signed Neil Parish MP’s cross-party letter to the Government calling for urgent support for the UK weddings industry. In the letter to Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, the MPs noted: “Earlier this month, the UK Weddings Taskforce presented a stark picture to us. Many of their businesses are on the brink of collapse. There are 60,000 businesses and 400,000 workers relying on this sector. It is worth an average of £14.7 billion to the UK economy each year. Yet it requires urgent attention and bridging support to stay solvent, fulfil upcoming bookings, maintain jobs, and boost the economy when restrictions are lifted.”
56 MPs from across several parties have signed the letter.
In December 2020, David Warburton MP spoke in Parliament about the scale of the Covid crisis for those businesses excluded from financial support. In doing so he highlighted the case of Greg Beedle of Gants Mill in Bruton, a wedding venue director. Last month David wrote directly to the Prime Minister to express deep concern for those omitted from government support during the crisis, including small business owners and the self-employed.
David said, “Somerset is an enormously popular destination for couples wanting to tie the knot in this beautiful county. There’s a huge number of wedding venues in my constituency, including Gants Mill in Bruton. There’s also Almonry Barn in Langport, Pennard House in East Pennard, Orchardleigh, Babington House and Elmhay Park in Frome plus countless others.”
Greg Beedle, director of Gant’s Mill in Bruton, adds “In the wedding industry we felt abandoned by our government and our insurers in 2020. Yet we still did the right thing by our customers.” A fact worth labouring as in some industries, notably airlines, that was not the case. LastMinute.com is still being pursued by the Government for failing to refund customers. Mr Beedle adds “Many in this sector did not receive any financial support. For those of us who did the amounts covered only a tiny fraction of our fixed overheads. We are viable, well-run businesses with large forward order books. Wedding venues are expert in safe, risk-assessed functions, and will be able to open safely in 2021.”
As you can read in the lead article of the February Leveller, unemployment rates are already high. However if we do not support the business community they will rise higher still. The light is at the end of the tunnel in terms of surviving the pandemic. The consequences of recession and surviving that is only just beginning to dawn on us.