The wedding sector has written its own survival manifesto after months of being ignored by government.
With 120,000 businesses and 400,000 jobs in the industry, the Association of British Wedding Businesses is making a last-ditch attempt to save hundreds of thousands of jobs and receptions.
The government’s ceremony cap of 15 – down from 30 – was the final ‘nail in the coffin’ and ‘kick in the teeth’ for a £10billion industry on its knees.
The ABWB argues that a venue that can hold 1500 being restricted to 15 is ‘ridiculous and untenable’ and ‘follows no science’.
Its manifesto includes:
- Ceremony caps to be based on capacity, not an arbitrary number
- A bridging grant until April
- Enhanced job support scheme
- Pilot weddings with testing on the doors and enhanced track and trace
Without this help – much of which has been offered to thousands of other businesses – the wedding industry is selected for extermination by government.
With this short-term support, there is hope for recovery, huge fiscal rewards for Whitehall and the potential employment of a further 100,000 staff next year during industry bounce back.
It would also mean thousands of sector workers are not forced to turn to benefits.
ABWB Venue Committee Chairman Duncan Clark said: “This is about survival now.
“We have been ignored on every level by a government refusing to listen to anything other than pseudo science and venues are starting to close.
“Our manifesto gives a clear, safe way to keep this vital industry alive, save countless jobs, protect the dreams of hundreds of thousands of couples and massively contribute to a battered economy.
“We have the solutions and if the Prime Minister continues to bury his head in the sand the responsibility for the collapse of our sector is his.”
The PM’s announcement that capacity restraints to 15 might last for up to six months saw 20,000 immediate wedding cancellations.
Since then the total is an estimated 40,000 cancellations and £750million of lifeline revenue lost.
The wedding sector faces the same challenges as other worst hit hospitality sectors.
Yet while the latter has rightfully been supported with VAT concessions and explicit business boost campaigns like Eat Out to Help Out, weddings appear to have been singled out for exclusion.
ABWB this weekend delivered a letter to the PM demanding action and is also calling on venue owners and others affected to write to their MPs.
The association has asked the Prime Minister for equal, fair treatment and to be afforded the chance for survival.
The viability of the industry is underwritten by CONTRACTED revenues next year forecast at £15bn resulting in approx.. £5bn in tax receipts.
Any government support now will be justified by massive returns on investment via hugely increased tax receipts next year and beyond.
AT A GLANCE:
- Wedding sector worth £10billion to economy
- 120,000 businesses
- 400,000 full & part-time staff
- Normally 278,000 ceremonies per year, with 20million guests.
- Weddings down at least 95% in 2020/21; could be up 150% in 2021/22 if government allows.