Shabana has written to the Business Secretary in support of banqueting halls and event spaces in light of Covid-19 measures.
The events industry is an important part of the hospitality economy.
The lockdown resulted in the cancellation of many large scale events that would normally take place in banqueting halls, leaving venue operators and consumers in disarray.
In her letter to the Business Secretary, Alok Sharma MP, Shabana supports calls from the industry for the Government to reconsider their position on banqueting halls and large event spaces, and to follow an evidence-based approach that would permit these venues to reopen in a safe manner.
You can read her letter in full below.
Letter to the Business Secretary
Dear Secretary of State,
I am writing regarding the hospitality industry, including large banqueting halls, in light of ongoing business restrictions due to Covid-19.
The hospitality industry is an important part of our economy, sustaining a large supply chain of small and medium sized enterprises across the country. The lockdown resulted in the cancellation of many large scale events that would normally take place in banqueting halls, leaving venue operators and consumers in disarray.
My constituency of Birmingham Ladywood is home to many such banqueting halls that face an uncertain future. The venues, and their suppliers, have experienced significant financial difficulties through the lockdown period, and are now faced with the proposition that their venues will be shut until an indeterminate later date. The continued closure of venues is due to cover the industry’s busiest month of August.
Government guidance currently allows events such as wedding ceremonies or formations to go ahead where they can be performed in a Covid-19 secure environment, with no more than 30 people in attendance following social distancing rules. However, large banqueting halls, whose business model depends on volume of customers to be a viable business, are not able to host events.
The Government has indicated that they are discussing the possibility of allowing spaces such as banqueting halls to open in the future, but have set no deadline for any announcement that would lead to their reopening.
It is clear that by their nature, large banqueting halls and event spaces are able accommodate more than 30 people, while still adhering to strict guidelines around social distancing. They are able to group tables by household and ensure that the one metre plus rule is observed at all times, often to a much better standard than many bars and restaurants, which the Government has permitted to reopen.
I am supporting calls from the industry for the Government to reconsider their position on banqueting halls and large event spaces, and to follow an evidence-based approach that would permit these venues to reopen in a safe manner. I would also like to add my voice to calls to extend business grants to banqueting halls that fall outside of the current scheme, and to suspend business rates for 2021 to give the industry time to recover.
Shabana Mahmood MP