A BRADFORD MP has hit out at a lack of government direction for one of the city's biggest industries.

Bradford West MP Naz Shah wrote a letter to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma which criticises the government for leaving wedding venue owners in limbo.

It alludes to third phase of the scheduled road map out of lockdown.

Many businesses in the hospitality sector will be able to open from Saturday, July 4.

But, this does not include wedding venues or halls currently, of which there are many in Bradford.

Ms Shah has raised the issue after being contacted by a "consortia" of wedding venues across West Yorkshire, which includes a dozen in her own constituency of Bradford West.

She said: “The group has raised significant concerns about the government’s silence on the re-opening of all such venues.

“We know phase three of the government’s road map starts on 4th July 2020.

“Businesses that fall within the hospitality sector will be allowed to re-open in line with government guidance, however, because the guidance does not extend to weddings halls/venues these businesses do, therefore, potentially face the imminent threat of closure."

The "disastrous effects" of this will be felt within the service industry too, Ms Shah claims.

She says that the likes of caterers, wedding planners, photographers, car hire companies, wedding décor companies, laundry services and more will suffer as a result.

One person involved in a Bradford wedding business admits the mental and emotional turmoil is just as prevalent as the financial issues faced in the wedding industry - for both those providing and using the service.

Rizwan Malik of the Madisson, in City Road, said: "The Maddison was a major financial investment and development for the city, its contribution to the local economy is significant.

"Jobs have been created, we are suffering from huge losses and many families who had weddings booked in are also financially worse off ,but more importantly are having to deal with the emotional and mental trauma and stress of not being able to hold their big day, yet it’s extremely disappointing that we are all being neglected by the government.

"The wider economic and mental impact of this is being completely ignored, we are extremely grateful that our local MP, is championing our cause."

Ms Shah said: "The emotional impact on individuals and families over the cancellation of weddings has been huge, over the last three months I have received numerous emails where constituents have had to seek professional help for their mental health and well-being to cope with the situation.

“Many have already spent thousands of pounds in preparation for their big day, and yet, there is no clear guidance on when they should expect it to finally take place."

Wedding venue owners feel confused, neglected and unsupported given that restaurants and pubs can open come Saturday, July 4, but they must remain closed.

Ms Shah said: "These businesses argue that the environment they seek to provide will be much safer than that, which would be found in restaurants and pubs.

“Naturally, several of those attending weddings will be from the same household, they would be seated together, and two metres away from guests from other households.

“The chances of spreading the virus in such venues, they argue would be significantly reduced.

“Families are fully aware of the fact that they will have to downsize their guestlists and they are prepared to do this.”

Mr Imran Ali of the Rio Grande, one of the oldest wedding venues in Bradford said: "It makes no sense that the government is seeking to ignore wedding venues, if restaurants can open from July 4, with social distancing measures in place, then why can’t this be extended to weddings venues?

"In fact, we argue that our environment will be much safer.

"We urge the government to allow us to open our venues from July."

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy did not provide an official statement but said wedding venues would not open until larger scale weddings themselves were authorised to go ahead.