To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of allocating financial support to members of the Scottish Section of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain who are based in northern England and therefore ineligible for Scottish Government grants for showpeople.
DCMS officials continue to meet with representatives of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain to assess how we can most effectively support the fairground industry through this period. Any further support will need to be considered in the wider context of existing support for the tourism industry, and the effectiveness of measures already in place.
The Government has introduced a number of support measures to support businesses and individuals through COVID-19, which travelling showpeople can access. These include various government-backed loans, as well as the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes. We also introduced a substantial, UK-wide cut in VAT for many tourism and hospitality activities, including admission to circuses and fairs, until the end of March.
Further to this, the Additional Restrictions Grant discretionary fund will allow Local Authorities to help businesses more broadly during this period. It supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes, such as the Local Restrictions Support Grant, or where additional funding is needed.
As tourism is devolved, the Devolved Administrations are responsible for any targeted financial initiatives to support the sector in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Since 2 December, we have returned to a tiered approach to COVID-19 restrictions in England. Funfairs and fairgrounds - which are permitted to reopen in all three tiers as they were prior to this period of national restrictions - will need to go through the normal process of requesting permission and any relevant licences from the relevant authority and have the relevant health and safety protocols in place, including a Covid-19 risk assessment.