Coronavirus lockdowns “catastrophic” for funfair industry say Showmen
The Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and MP’s asking them not to overlook the funfair trade during the coronavirus crisis – and to offer to help out with drivers and equipment.
The Guild are also urging its members and supporters to copy the letter and send it to their local MP.
The Travellers’ Times understand that the move is supported by campaign organisation the Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group.
“The travelling funfair and touring circuses businesses have seen our markets disappear, from outdoor events, festivals, private functions and fairs we have been shut down and our income streams have gone,” says Joe Mercer, General Secretary the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain.
“We have staff to pay and other obligations, but we are concerned we’ve been overlooked – which will be catastrophic for my business and our industry.”
Joe Mercer also says that many Showmen do not work from a fixed premises and so do not qualify for the support or parachute payments of £25,000 offered to the rest of the hospitality or events sector. Their work is also seasonal, he says, and that they may not be able to work again until the season starts in spring 2021.
“In addition, as I run a very seasonal business, I may not be able to earn an income until next spring, while most other businesses should return to normal by autumn,” says Joe Mercer.
“We have five months to earn our living and in those five months, we could be shut down. Thousands of independent Showmen will close within the next week and many thousands of staff will be laid off. Some will be mothballed; many will never return.
The Showmen community does have the capacity to support government efforts to combat Covid-19 by providing drivers, equipment such as generators and other expertise. We will not be able to assist if our industry fails in the next two weeks.
The Traveller's Times has approached the Chancellor of the Exchequer for comment.
Download the full letter by clicking on the link below: