Fears for future of Fife wedding industry

MP Wendy Chamberlain.MP Wendy Chamberlain.
MP Wendy Chamberlain.
A north east Fife wedding venue owner has warned that her business ‘will not survive much longer’ under current guidelines.

Concerns raised by Samantha Nisbet, from Kinkell Byre, and other businesses impacted by guidelines on events, were raised by MP Wendy Chamberlain during a debate at Westminster.

The North East Fife MP highlighted that it was not just wedding venues that were affected but their supply chain too.

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One of the local businesses Ms Chamberlain raised is Kinkell Byre, a wedding and events venue that has been operating in its old farmsteading as a venue since 2003. Kinkell Byre normally holds up to 80 events a year, the majority of which are weddings.

Ms Chamberlain said: “Kinkell Byre contributes substantially to the local economy because every wedding means revenue for not only themselves, but a huge range of local suppliers, from photography and music to catering.

“It means 100 guests staying in north east Fife for two or three days, each of them spending in other locations on food and accommodation.”

Samantha said the crisis had made it “impossible” for the venue to operate.

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She added: “Our revenue has been reduced to virtually zero while costs still need to be paid to keep the business afloat for the upkeep of the old buildings, wages, insurance, marketing and professional services.

“Under the current guidelines we cannot operate or generate any revenue and the business will not survive much longer, we have the space and the capacity to do events safely but with larger numbers than the current guidelines permit. The limit should be linked to the capacity of the venue.”

The plight of Amy Annand Flowers, a small florist business which is largely focused on flowers for weddings, was also raised.

Because of the pandemic, Amy has given up her shop and moved online but remains hugely impacted by the restrictions.

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The wedding events industry is a £10bn industry that provides 400,000 full and part time jobs. With postponed weddings, the industry is certain there will be a bounce back in 2021 and 2022 which will help drive recovery with increased revenues and additional jobs.

Amy Annand said: “People are moving their weddings to next year or even 2022, which is making keeping the business going really hard.

“However, without support from the Government many companies will not last until then.

“From large event venues to their small independent suppliers we are a multi-billion pound industry responsible for hundreds of thousands of jobs but we have not been given the support we need to survive until the recovery.”

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Ms Annand continued: “We need the government to listen to our concerns and to support us.”

Ms Chamberlain added: “If the Government will not or cannot change the restrictions, they need to provide further financial support to enable these businesses to survive through until March.

“North east Fife would be nothing without these businesses.

“We often hear that small, locally owned businesses are the backbone of the local economy, but in north east Fife they are the face of the economy, too.”

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