This week I met with Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the Fairground and Show People community. Particularly, we discussed the community’s exclusion from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport taskforce, and the subsequent threats to their livelihoods and businesses.
The Fairground and Show People community has a long-standing history in my constituency and in Scotland, contributing greatly to our seasonal fairs. Currently, there are 340 operating members of the trade association for the Fairground and Show Peoples Community across Scotland. Each is a small business owner and all have families, numbering 5,000 across Scotland and 23,000 across the UK. I have been deeply concerned by the fact that due to the pandemic most major seasonal fairs have been cancelled this year, greatly putting at risk the businesses and livelihoods of the Scottish Fairground and Show People community.
The meeting with the Secretary of State was productive, as I raised the issues currently concerning the Fairground and Show People community, discussing how COVID-19 hugely affected the community. I am glad to report that the Secretary of State will now reach out to the Showmen’s Guild and work with them as the community recovers from the blow of the pandemic. I see this as a positive step in the right direction – allowing for an opportunity for the Show People and Fairground community to economically recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.