Fairground photo

Showmen’s Guild Central Office: government recognises red diesel concerns

Fairgrounds and circuses to be permitted to use red diesel after April 22 following consultation with industry.

The Government officially announced today that the entitlement to use red diesel and rebated biofuels from April 2022 will continue “for powering the machinery (including caravans) of travelling fairs and circuses”.

A Policy Paper entitled ‘Reform of red diesel and other rebated fuels entitlement’, was released in conjunction with today’s Budget statement by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, in the House of Commons.

The White Paper describes legislative changes through the Finance Bill 2021 and secondary legislation to restrict the use of red diesel and rebated biofuels from April 2022 to a series of qualifying purposes.

This includes, among six specific uses: “for powering the machinery (including caravans) of travelling fairs and circuses”.

Industry consultations

This is the outcome of last summer’s consultation (and earlier, similar ones), that the fairground and circus industries had worked hard to achieve.

The Treasury recognised the concerns that the fairground and circus industry had in the submissions from all the different industry associations working together.

The government reflected these concerns in their decision-making drawn from a summary of responses.

It noted responses from operators and their representatives, who suggested that red diesel represents a relatively large proportion of their costs and that they had very limited capacity to absorb these costs.

This would have a material impact on ticket prices paid by the people visiting these attractions.

Following the consultation, the government has decided to grant further entitlement to use red diesel for travelling fairs and circuses when it is used for powering machinery, including caravans.

Three other groups have been added to the previously-announced entitlements for agriculture, trains and non-commercial heating.

Guild President Philip Paris response

Speaking of the positive result of this consultation, the planned Finance Bill that will make it law and the work in achieving this result, Philip Paris, President of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain said today:

“I am delighted to hear this news on behalf of our 2000 members and 23,000 family members, as well as all those in the wider fairground and circus community.

“We have worked hard in recent years, especially in this last year, even during the pandemic, alongside our colleagues together from: The Association of Independent Showmen; the Society of Independent Roundabout Proprietors, the Amusement Catering Equipment Society; and the Association of Circus Proprietors.

“Between us we presented detailed arguments on behalf of all our members, who themselves contributed detailed information on usage and how their businesses work.

“We are pleased that the Treasury and the Government listened to our arguments, concerns and our passion for our special entertainment industry, heritage, and way of life and that they understand the value of our travelling entertainment to local communities nationwide.

“We are also grateful for the work and assistance of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fairs & Showgrounds; the DCMS and other parliamentarians in highlighting our submissions.

“This campaigning is at the centre of the work of the Showmen’s Guild since it started 132 years ago, which also includes achieving the addition on the online Census 21 form, of the option of ethnic identification: “Showman / “Showwoman”.

Mr Paris concluded:

“This very welcome news is a great relief to us all, at a time of such uncertainty and following a year of no business for many and very little for others.

“We look forward to reopening our travelling entertainment with renewed confidence and hope to work positively with local and regional authorities across the country, to make this a reality, for the benefit of the Showmen & Women and for our loyal audiences nationwide.”

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