MP Helen Morgan has heard about the challenges faced by businesses during a visit to a Whitchurch visitor spot.

Aimed at understanding the challenges faced by the family business and surrounding sector, the visit to Alderford Lake included a tour by electric boat and a discussion on the economic climate.

Ms Morgan was shown around the lake by director Rob Bebbington and business development manager Kelly Lowe.

The tour focused on inflation and wage bills, as well as tourism and leisure businesses' current state in Shropshire.

Mr Bebbington and Ms Lowe are backing calls by the Association of Independent Festivals for a three-year reduction in VAT on festival ticket sales.

The proposed change aims to provide promoters with time to adapt to the post-COVID environment.


Ms Morgan said: "It was fantastic to visit Alderford Lake and to see first-hand the fantastic destination the team have built.

"Special thanks must go to Rob and Kelly for taking the time to show me around, and for such a useful discussion about inflation, Shropshire tourism, and the challenges many live venues and music festivals are facing."

Ms Morgan also viewed the AlderFest site, set to host top artists like S Club, Example, and Scott Mills on July 5 and 6.

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Mr Bebbington said: “We absolutely love putting on the festival, but we can’t carry on if we can’t turn a profit."

He also said: "A three year VAT reduction on ticket revenue as the Association of Independent Festivals are calling for would make a real difference for us."

Kelly Lowe added how essential the festival was to the local economy as she said: “For every £10 spent on tickets for a live music event, £17 goes back into the local economy driving business for local transport, hospitality outlets and retailers."

She added: "Locally, BlueDot in Cheshire has finished, and the Green Man festival in Clun won’t happen this year.

"Others like Nozstock say this year will be their last.

"With many festivals already lost from the local area, it’s imperative we do all we can to protect not only our festival but other existing and new festivals locally and nationally.”

The discussions highlighted the struggle of many local festivals, with 21 announced as postponed, cancelled or closing in 2024.