Couples and businesses, if you support our letter below then please add your signature by completing the fields at the end of this page.
Dear Prime Minister,
Urgent Financial Support and Clarity for the Wedding Industry
We are writing to you as a group of businesses and individuals from across the wedding industry whose businesses and livelihoods are being destroyed by the current restrictions placed on the sector. We are urgently seeking clarity as to when the sector will be able to properly re-open again and are appealing to you for immediate financial support.
There are 60,000 businesses and 400,000 workers relying on the wedding sector and it is worth an average of £14.7 billion to the UK economy each year. Yet, despite our importance to the UK economy and the regional employment we provide in every part of the UK, the picture is extremely stark for the wedding industry with our businesses, spanning across the entire supply chain, being on the brink of collapse.
We require clarity about when weddings can restart, at full socially distanced capacity as a minimum, in venues, marquees, structures and other outdoor settings. Without this, cancellations are increasing and the ability of wedding businesses to survive is diminishing by the day and cannot be easily rebuilt. We desperately need sector specific clarity in the upcoming roadmap out of lockdown announcement on 22nd February. Due to the seasonality of the sector, by April at the latest, we need weddings to restart at full capacity with social distancing as a minimum in order to start trading profitability and for couples to be able to look forward without worry. Confidence is the most important factor in calculating spend, preventing cancellations and securing new bookings.
In addition, tailored financial support for the sector is desperately needed. Sector specific support has been given to other sectors, such as hospitality, and we are now in urgent need of parity and inclusion – such as the temporary VAT reduction to 5% and business rates exemption alongside a consideration of those who have fallen through the gaps in previous schemes. The sector critically needs a cash injection to keep it going until reopening, particularly given the seasonal nature of weddings. The Weddings Taskforce has identified that cash grants of up to £10,000 would support up to 38,000 wedding businesses but only until 1st April.
If there is no immediate sector support and roadmap for viable and profitable weddings from the Government, we will simply fail. Deposits for hundreds of thousands of future weddings will be lost, up to 400,000 jobs at risk – 80% of those working in our sector are female, often flexibly around childcare – and lost tax revenue from VAT and PAYE.
From a societal and cultural perspective this is also an unsustainable position. Without support for the sector, there will be fewer marriages and the institution of marriage is a cornerstone of many communities throughout Britain. The situation is heartbreaking, not just for businesses but for couples and families whose lives have been put on hold with complete uncertainty about their future. Government restrictions have prevented many hundreds of thousands of couples, from all communities, carrying out their wedding celebrations and traditions.
We are calling on the Government to provide immediate sector support and a clear plan for reopening. This small request will ensure tens of thousands of viable wedding businesses will survive, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be saved and couples right across the country will be able hold the wedding celebrations they have waited so long for.