The UK wedding sector is to lose £325m for every week of delay if government does not stick to the planned relaxation of rules on June 21.
The UK Weddings Taskforce estimates that there are 50,000 weddings planned in the four weeks from June 21 in danger of being cancelled if the restriction on guest numbers (currently 30 in England) is not lifted.
In a meeting with Ministers on May 19, the Taskforce asked to discuss a contingency plan for weddings should the nation not meet Step 4 by June 21, which government declined to explore.
Furthermore, it is estimated that 300,000 workers – 75% of the workforce – will not return to work and will be at immediate risk of redundancy as the sector’s 60,000 businesses continue to grapple with heavy restrictions, a lack of consumer confidence and looming emergency loan repayments.
This equates to 1.1m working days lost every week there is a delay.
80% of couples who have booked a wedding in the four weeks after June 21 claim they will cancel their weddings and a further 25% with weddings booked for later this summer will cancel due to the ongoing uncertainty.
There is also an estimated 550 tonnes of food currently on order between June 21 and July 8 that will go to waste if the restrictions are not lifted, sending a devastating ripple along the supply chain and impacting wholesalers, growers and producers.
£16.5bn has been lost by the sector since the first lockdown, with 320,000 weddings having been postponed or cancelled.
Weddings Taskforce spokesperson Sarah Haywood commented: “For wedding businesses, the loss is not just the £325m for each week’s delay to full reopening. It is the millions in addition lost on staff wages in the last 6-8 weeks to prepare for June 21, and the effects on cashflow for businesses who have not been able to trade in a commercially viable form for 15 months.
“The harsh treatment of our sector, lack of parity with other closely related industries, and Government’s refusal to work with us on sensible solutions to see the sector through to the other side of the pandemic now jeopardises 400,000 jobs. There is no data to support us having been so heavily penalised throughout the recent restrictions and now the very survival of our world-class sector is in doubt. If it is lost it will take a decade or more to rebuild, affecting over a quarter of a million couples every single year and with a devastating societal impact.”