Scottish Parliament

10/12/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/12/2020 08:04

Holyrood Committee seeks views on simplifying license process for travelling funfairs to help preserve their way of life

A Scottish Parliament Committee is to scrutinise proposals which would create a new licensing system for travelling funfairs.

The Local Government and Communities Committee has launched a call for views on the Licensing of Funfairs (Scotland) Bill, a Member's Bill proposed by Richard Lyle MSP. This Bill seeks to protect the way of life of Scotland's showpeople by simplifying the licensing system and reducing the cost of a licence application.

Travelling funfairs are currently licensed under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, which allows local authorities to issue both temporary and full 'public entertainment licences'. This has meant different councils have adopted different approaches to granting. Research done to support the Bill also indicates that the fees for a license can vary widely across councils - from £50 to thousands of pounds.

The Bill would remove travelling funfairs from the 1982 Act, define what is meant by a 'travelling funfair', and create a separate system for them, requiring anyone holding a funfair to have a licence granted by the local authority. The license would last for a maximum six weeks with a set fee of £50, which can be later revised only in line with inflation.

Speaking as the call for views was launched, Committee Convener James Dornan MSP, said:

'Funfairs have been enjoyed by generations of Scottish people. But the member has brought forward this Bill as he believes the funfair trade is in grave difficulty, and that its woes predate the current health crisis. He believes that, without change to the current licensing system, the traditional way of life of showpeople is at risk, as are the jobs associated with it.

'The proposed new system aims to make purchasing licenses quicker, simpler and cheaper. At present, local authorities can take different approaches when it comes to licensing, and this Bill would instead create a uniform system with all councils following the same rules.

'The Committee are keen to hear whether this legislation would strike the right balance. This involves hearing from the industry about the problems they face, hearing whether councils feel the new system will give them the right level of control, and hearing whether local communities are satisfied the new system would ensure their voices can be heard.

'We also want to hear about the potential financial impact of the legislation, not only for showpeople and other operators of travelling fairgrounds, but also on local authorities and the wider community.'

The call for view closes on 7 December and you can give your views here:


For more information on the work of the Local Government and Communities committee, visit the Scottish Parliament website.

The Travelling Funfairs (Licensing) (Scotland) Bill is a Member's Bill introduced by Richard Lyle MSP on 29 April 2020. A Member's Bill is introduced by an individual MSP, not the Scottish Government. You can read the Bill and accompanying documents here.

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