In conjunction with the UK Weddings Taskforce, David Warburton, MP for Somerton & Frome is a co-signatory to 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, David Warburton and other MPs declared, “Earlier this month, the UK Weddings Taskforce presented a stark picture to us, with many of our businesses on the brink of collapse.”
“There are 60,000 businesses and 400,000 workers relying on this sector and 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.”
In December, David Warburton MP spoke in Parliament about the scale of the Covid crisis for those businesses excluded from financial support. He highlighted the case of Greg Beedle of Gants Mill in Bruton, a wedding venue director. Having written several times to the Chancellor on the issue of the similarly excluded, 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 and there’s a huge number of wedding venues in my constituency, including Gants Mill in Bruton, Almonry Barn in Langport, Pennard House in East Pennard, Orchardleigh, Babington House and Elmhay Park in Frome plus countless others.”
He continued, “If these wedding businesses don’t receive immediate support from the government, it’s likely they and their suppliers will fail. Not only do they need urgent financial support, they urgently need a plan for re-opening and getting the industry back on its feet.”
Greg Beedle, director of Gant’s Mill in Bruton, said, ““In the wedding industry we felt abandoned by our government and our insurers in 2020, and yet we still did the right thing by our customers. Many in this sector did not receive any financial support, and 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.”
The letter to the Minister was signed by 56 MPs across all parties.