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A Magazine for Sheffield

What About Weddings?

New campaign group gets crafty with Sheffield’s Women of Steel to highlight awareness of the critical need for assistance for the wedding industry.

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What About Weddings Sheffield has sent a message to the city about the urgent need to support the wedding industry, as thousands of self-employed workers across the country are now at risk due to the economic impact of Covid-19.

Following Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s devastating economic statement last Thursday, which left thousands of freelancers working in the wedding industry with almost no financial support, at a time when many weddings have been cancelled or greatly reduced in scale, What About Weddings Sheffield took to the streets and dressed the city centre’s ‘Women of Steel’ statue in bridal wear, adorning the two iconic figures with floral bouquets as a defiant reminder of an industry that is largely held together by female workers.

The intervention by What About Weddings Sheffield aims to send a message that the government’s economic recovery package must include greater support for those working in the wedding industry, including photographers, florists, cake-makers, videographers, caterers, entertainers, musicians and venues whose businesses have in many instances ceased trading since lockdown restrictions first came into force in March.

What About Weddings Sheffield said:

“What everyone seems to have missed is that many people are likely to end up bankrupt, in a position where they have to make claims to the state for long-term financial support, and where it will be next to impossible to secure funds to restart their businesses. This will mean a huge gap of skills and expertise in the industry, wide-scale loss of quality wedding provision, further strain on the state, and a disproportionate effect on female business owners, to whom the need to work flexibly is a significant obstacle to retraining and entering a new workforce.”

In a speech earlier this week the Chancellor announced that self-employed workers would receive 20% of annual profits as part of his Winter Economy Plan. This figure provides little assistance to tradespeople in an industry where they are unable to return to work to supplement their income. It fails to support new businesses, limited companies and those who reinvested profits in the growth of their business up to the end of the tax year 2018/19.

by Felicity Jackson (she/her)

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