Showmen and MPs have called on the Treasury to retain the reduced 5% VAT rate on ticket and food sales for the fairground and circus industries. The rate is due to rise to 12.5% after 30 September.
Sir David Amess MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fairs & Showgrounds (APPG), has written to the Treasury with the request following a meeting with the Showmen’s Guild, the Association of Circus Proprietors and other industry trade associations.
At the meeting, the Showmen highlighted the little financial assistance that Showpeople have received during the pandemic.
They also drew MPs attention to local council hesitancy in allowing fairs and circuses to open and their requirement for Covid mitigations to be continued.
The 5% rate was put in place as part of the entertainment provision, to support hospitality and leisure businesses severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing measures.
In his letter, Sir David asked the Chancellor to retain the reduced rate “so
that the industry’s operators can recoup losses and build-up reserves” beyond September.
“This 5% rate needs to be continued, as a lifeline to assist recouping losses for the Show Industry’s survival. This applies also to those Showmen Funfair operators, where VAT is charged / operated”, he said.
He also pointed out that the issue is “exacerbated by the later opening of circuses (17th May in Stage 3 of the Govt. Roadmap)”.
The trade bodies will now have to wait for further announcements from the Chancellor in September.