BERKSWELL hotelier Rick Cressman says the knock-on effects of a decision by Royal Bank of Scotland to cancel a Christmas party at Nailcote Hall will hit several small businesses hard.
Mr Cressman was speaking out yesterday following a row over a Christmas party the Birmingham office of the beleaguered bank had booked.
The party, for around 240 staff ,was cancelled in the face of adverse publicity and criticisms over ‘extravagant’ spending by Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart.
The Labour MP’s comments led to bosses at the bank, which was the subject of a multi-million-pound Government bail-out, pulling the plug on the bash just 12 days before it was due to take place on December 13.
Mr Cressman said: “It is very upsetting - not just for Nailcote but for staff at RBS in Birmingham too.
“Gisela Stuart seems to have lost the plot yet at the same time the Chancellor and the Prime Minister want the economy to move and money to be circulated.
“Now here we are with a Government owned bank - with a contract arranged six months ago - turning around a few days before and cancelling it.
“As a result a small business has been let down by a big business.”
The angry hotel owner said many other businesses who supply Nailcote would lose out too, as well as staff who would have been working that night.
“If small businesses get let down by a Government-owned business it makes you wonder where our economy is going and what kind of society we are trying to run.”
He also dismissed claims of extravagance, adding that the cost per person was £49.50, with staff at the bank making a contribution and raising funds on the night for the charity Operation Smile.
RBS confirmed that the party was cancelled due to the adverse publicity, while Gisela Stuart said if they were inappropriately cancelling a contract it was a “double wrong”.
Mr Cressman, who said he was not contemplating any legal action against the bank over the cancellation, added that he still had hopes the party might go ahead following an eleventh hour U-turn.
He added: “I am still hoping there is a chance RBS may reconsider the decisions to cancel - I really hope that happens.”