MP’s plea as wedding venue staff at Lartington Hall lose jobs
CALLS have been made for more Government financial support for pubs and event centres after a dale wedding venue was forced to make its staff redundant because of coronavirus restrictions.
The House of Commons heard last week that all staff at Lartington Hall were let go because of cancelled wedding bookings.
Speaking during a debate on local restrictions, Teesdale’s MP Dehenna Davison said the dale has low cases of Covid-19 but had been lumped in with the same restrictions as parts of the North East were the virus is prevalent.
She said: “I have had emails from constituents in Middleton-in-Teesdale, Bowes and Hamsterley confused and angry as to why they have to be put through more serious restrictions despite cases in their immediate vicinity remaining very low.”
She called for data to be analysed at a more localised level so that people in areas of minimal cases can enjoy more freedom.
In asking for additional support for the events and entertainment sector, she said: “I think of one of my constituents John Harper-Wilkes, who runs Lartington Hall – an incredible wedding venue just outside Barnard Castle. Couples who had booked to get married at Lartington Hall are choosing to postpone their weddings until next year, rather than getting married in front of socially distanced crowds of 15.
“John hasn’t done anything to make customers postpone bookings but, through no fault of his own, he has lost all of his custom and John has had to make all of his staff redundant.
“The impact of these job losses cannot be understated and the long-term mental health impacts of unemployment and lost incomes can in themselves be devastating.”
Regarding the impact on pubs, she added: “If we are to have restrictions on businesses to reduce the spread of the virus then I really do believe we should have greater protections for the sectors hit hardest by the inability to socialise.
“Between the 10 o’ clock curfew and the lack of households being able to meet I am really concerned that these restrictions, without additional financial support may have the overall impact of closing pubs, not just for lockdown, but for good.
“We must make sure our pubs, the social hubs of our communities, are viable for the long term for the mental health of all those people who rely on them for social contact.
“We have to balance reducing the transmission of this virus with allowing business to carry on as usual.”
Ms Davison said while she would support the Government restrictions to stem the spread of the virus, she also urged it to “find new tangible support for our hospitality and events sector”.