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Funfairs (Licensing)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 1st May 2014.

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Photo of Richard Lyle Richard Lyle Scottish National Party

1. I refer members to my entry in the register of members’ interests; I am the convener of the cross-party group on the Scottish Showmen’s Guild.

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will consider proposals to amend the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 in relation to the licensing of funfairs in light of the reported economic impact on showpeople. (S4O-03166)

Photo of Kenny MacAskill Kenny MacAskill Scottish National Party

We have no current plans to amend the licensing arrangements for funfairs.

The provisions of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 enable local authorities to make decisions that are informed by local priorities and circumstances to ensure that funfairs are operated safely and to minimise any nuisance that may be caused—for example, by noise or litter.

Photo of Richard Lyle Richard Lyle Scottish National Party

Does the Scottish Government share my concern that councils are now using planning legislation and requesting the erection of fencing to prevent funfairs from being held?

Photo of Kenny MacAskill Kenny MacAskill Scottish National Party

It is appropriate that regulation is proportionate and balanced. It is right that local licensing authorities protect their communities by ensuring that funfairs are operated safely, and that they cause minimal nuisance to those who live around them. It is also appropriate that there is an adequate balance to ensure that the fun that fairs provide for many people who live locally can happen. We believe that it is best left to the judgment of the local authority in the particular circumstances at the time, but we encourage authorities to be balanced and proportionate.

Photo of John Mason John Mason Scottish National Party

Does the cabinet secretary agree that some councils are verging on being discriminatory against a minority group? Glasgow City Council, for example, charges £597 for a licence.

Photo of Kenny MacAskill Kenny MacAskill Scottish National Party

I am not aware of the circumstances in Glasgow, but I am aware of the events that take place in my constituency in the city of Edinburgh. I know that they are welcomed by the local authority and the local community, and by the police, who play their part.

As I said to Mr Lyle, it is a matter of proportionality and balance. Fairs provide a great deal of fun and enjoyment as well as economic benefits for those who work in them. It is appropriate that local authorities take on board the need for balance and remember that the regulations are meant to be proportionate.