Wednesday 30th December 2020

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Petitions
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The petition of the residents of the constituency of Glasgow East,
Declares that the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic have had a devastating effect on the wider wedding industry; further declares that this impact is felt across hospitality venues, catering suppliers, outfitters, bands and DJs, limousine and tax hire companies, coach companies, and photographers; further declares that many of these groups now have no income or support; further declares that these are all viable businesses when restrictions are lifted and full weddings can take place; and further declares that many people have been personally disappointed by the lost opportunity to marry their loved ones in the setting they dreamed of, further that many people hope that they have their maximum choice available post covid-19 pandemic.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to bring forward immediate additional measures to support the wider wedding industry, including hospitality venues, outfitters, suppliers, the entertainment industry, photographers, vehicle hire companies and coach hire companies.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Alan Brown, Official Report, 3 November 2020; Vol. 683, c. 286 .]
[P002616]
Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Paul Scully):
Policy for wedding receptions and celebrations in England is the responsibility of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The Scottish Government are responsible for policy on wedding receptions and celebrations in Scotland.
On 2 December the Government introduced a regionally differentiated approach to covid-19, where different tiers of restrictions apply in different parts of the country.
Every area will fit within a covid-19 local alert tier, which determines the restrictions in place in specific areas. Information about the restrictions that apply can be checked at: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions
We appreciate how important weddings are, and how many plans have been impacted by the covid-19 outbreak. This has not just affected the couple wishing to get married, but their families, guests and those companies and organisations wanting to deliver and provide key services at these events. However, the Government have had to take quick and decisive action in response to curb the threat of the virus.
The Government have provided an unprecedented package of support to help businesses across the country during the covid-19 outbreak. Businesses are able to furlough employees who were on a PAYE payroll prior to 31 October 2020 until the end of April 2021, with the Government paying 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 per month for hours not worked and employers expected to pay employer NICS and pension contributions. Further details can be found here:
Self-employed people may be able to benefit from the extension to the self- employed income support scheme which has been extended for six months. The level of support available through the first of these two new grants, which covers the period November to January, has been increased to provide 80% of average trading profits.
Under the local restrictions support grant, businesses which pay business rates and have been required to close due to local or national restrictions will be able to claim support, and £1.1 billion is also being given to local authorities for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses more broadly.
The Chancellor also laid out further measures which may be of use to the wedding industry in his winter economy plan; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/winter- economy-plan
Further information on support for business may be found here:
In addition to the UK-wide measures listed above, earlier this year the UK Government announced an unprecedented guarantee that the devolved authorities would receive at least £12.7 billion in additional resource funding this year to help them respond to covid-19. We have now increased that by a further £1.3 billion, to at least £14 billion. This means a total increase this year of at least £7.2 billion for the Scottish Government, providing certainty to the Scottish Government enabling them to plan for the future. It is for the Scottish Government to decide how to use this funding irrespective of how UK Government provides support in England. The UK Government are also currently supporting nearly half a million jobs in Scotland, down from a high of more than 930,000 at the end of July. More than 65,000 businesses in Scotland have benefited from UK Government loan schemes.
Furthermore, the Government have supported self-employed individuals in Scotland with 126,000 approved claims for the second SEISS grant, totalling £318 million. In Scotland, 61% of the potentially eligible population had claimed the second SEISS grant as of 31 August.
As with other parts of the UK, loan schemes are available to businesses in Scotland. The coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) has successfully offered Scottish businesses 2,693 facilities, worth £588m; this forms 5% of total CBILS lending across the UK.
Under the bounce back loan scheme (BBLS), the Government have offered businesses based in Scotland 63,649 facilities, worth £1.84 billion, which forms 6% of total BBLS lending across the UK.
Across these two schemes, the proportion of offered facilities to Scottish businesses is commensurate with Scotland’s 6% proportion of UK’s small business population and highlights the robust support UKG have provided to Scottish business.
This is the first time the UK Government have provided an upfront guarantee of additional in-year funding of £7.2 billion to the Scottish Government. Since March, the Government have put in place a comprehensive package of support which will enable firms to get up and running again.
The Government have done the right thing across the UK to support people and businesses through the pandemic, and we will continue to support them as we come out of it.