A Fife wedding venue forced to postpone more than 70 events has welcomed a new £ 25 million fund to help the sector.
However, Samantha Nisbet, manager of Kinkell Byre near St. Andrews, warned that a one-time grant will not be enough to keep businesses alive while the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Professions such as venues, photographers, caterers and suppliers can apply for up to £ 25,000 under the program launched by the Scottish Government last week.
There is no equivalent fund in other parts of the UK.
“Impossible to use”
Ms. Nisbet said that while the grant is welcome, it should be seen as the beginning of a support process and not as the sole tool for difficult venues.
© Steve Brown / DCT Media Samantha Nisbet.
“The coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible for us to operate in any capacity,” she said.
Kinkell Byre had to cancel more than 70 weddings last year after the Covid-19 hit.
No more than 20 guests were allowed in for receptions, and music and speaking were prohibited under previous Tier 3 restrictions.
According to the current Tier 4 rules, receptions cannot take place at all.
Many companies now go into deeper debt because they have trouble keeping the lights on. “
Wendy Chamberlain MP
Ms. Nisbet said most brides and grooms decided to postpone their big day instead of having a lockdown wedding.
“For months, our sales have been virtually zero while our overheads still have to be paid to keep the business going,” she said.
“We have to pay for the upkeep of the old buildings, the wages, the insurance, the marketing and the professional services.
“While we recognize the need to be cautious and put public safety first, and that this support is welcome, we must also view this as the beginning of a support process as one-time payments and grants do not help us get over Stay water as long as the pandemic continues. “
“We beat the drum for this support”
Wendy Chamberlain, Liberal Democrat MP from North East Fife, highlighted the plight of the wedding venues in November.
© PA Wendy Chamberlain.
She called on the UK government for financial aid, pointing out that the wedding industry is £ 10 billion and employs 400,000 across the UK.
Ms. Chamberlain said she was delighted to see the Scottish government listened to local businesses.
She added: “We have been beating the drum for this support for months, however, and many companies are now deeper in debt as they struggle to turn the lights on until the pandemic ends.
“We need to ensure that this support is part of an ongoing process to defend and protect businesses and that their ongoing concerns are not swept under the carpet if this lockdown goes on for much longer than expected.”
Scottish Treasury Secretary Kate Forbes admitted the pandemic had a serious impact on the Scottish wedding sector.
“We know that the current restrictions, which are absolutely necessary in our fight against Covid-19, continue to weigh on the sector,” she said.
“I want to encourage anyone who thinks they are eligible to learn more about applications. We want to help as many companies survive this pandemic as possible.”