South of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed the opening of the Scottish Wedding Industry Fund on Thursday for businesses affected by the pandemic – but is demanding a detailed timeline on how long the support will be available to help support the struggling industry which is so important to the economy in Dumfries and Galloway.
The fund will offer support to wedding businesses whose main income derives from weddings and civil partnership events. It will be administered by South of Scotland Enterprise, offering grants of up to £25,000.
Colin Smyth has urged all eligible businesses to apply as soon as possible but says clarity is needed on what options are available when the fund closes.
Colin Smyth said: “Dumfries and Galloway, particularly the Gretna area, relies heavily on the wedding tourism industry and has been hit severely by pandemic restrictions. These include venues, photographers, caterers and many more industries and other small businesses.
“This fund will go some way to helping deal with the loss of income. However, summer is a key time for the wedding industry, and with the loss of tourism and restrictions on the movement of people, the fund is unlikely to last for long.
“I am asking for a detailed timeline on how long wedding business support is likely to be available. Businesses need to plan ahead, and without greater clarity they will be left in the dark looking for long-term solutions.
“Businesses need to know what to expect as they come out of lockdown, and what plans are in place for when the fund closes.”