Like many businesses in the tourism and leisure sectors, fair and showground operators have been impacted by the pandemic. Current rules on fair and showground openings will differ depending on the rules in each local area, see the Library briefing paper, Coronavirus: the lockdown laws for further information.

The UK Government has provided various financial support schemes for businesses through the pandemic; most of these are available to businesses in all sectors. The Government has not provided specific support for fair and showground operators in addition to these wider schemes. Fairs and showground businesses may benefit from some support targeted to hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors, such as the reduced VAT rate for tourism attractions. The Library briefing: Coronavirus: support for businesses provides further information.

On 9 December the Scottish Government announced an additional support package for businesses in Scotland, targeted by sector. This included £1.5 million for “travelling show people ineligible for other support” along with funding for other tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors.

The following sources may provide useful background to the topic of this debate.

Press release

Greater support needed for Showpeople, David Linden MP, 23 November 2020

Parliamentary Questions

PQ113510, Fairgrounds: Non-domestic Rates, answered on 16 November 2020

PQ120081, Fairgrounds: Coronavirus, answered on 2 December 2020

PQ118502, Fairgrounds: Coronavirus, answered on 30 November 2020

PQ100539, Fairgrounds: Coronavirus, answered on 15 October 2020

Press articles

Targeted support for suffering sectors worth £185m announced by Scottish Government, The Scotsman, 9 December 2020

‘If we don’t fight our corner we’ll never open again’: Future of funfairs in Wakefield in jeopardy? Wakefield Express, 25 November 2020

Historic culture of Scotland’s showpeople under threat, experts warn, The Herald, 7 September 2020

Journal article

Showtime: what the future holds for Scotland’s travelling showpeople, Holyrood, 3 February 2020

Scottish Parliament 

Scottish Parliament Scottish Showmen’s Guild Cross-Party Group

Library briefing papers

Coronavirus: support for businesses, 14 December 2020

Coronavirus: New business grant schemes explained, 17 November 2020

Coronavirus restrictions explained, various briefings

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