The Daily Telegraph has highlighted the plight of Britain’s travelling showmen and some believe there’s more than a whiff of prejudice in the air.
The influential broadsheet and largely pro-establishment Daily Telegraph newspaper has taken up the cause of Britain’s travelling showmen arguing that the sector has fallen through the cracks of the vast majority of the Government’s emergency support schemes, pointing out that as a mobile industry showmen do not have rateable premises and are ineligible for the emergency grants that have been accessed by legions of small businesses. To compound matters, the sector has suffered a double whammy with some local councils withholding permission to restart despite being given permission by central government on July 4 alongside the rest of hospitality.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Philip Paris, president of the Travelling Showmen’s Guild confirmed: “We’re not receiving adequate funding and we’re not getting the message across that local authorities are putting these blanket bans on not allowing fairs to operate.”
Pointing out that rides can cost upwards of £100,000 each, purchases which are largely financed by loans, the Telegraph quotes Paris as believing that operators are facing a genuine threat of bankruptcy and “don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.”
The campaign group Future for Fairgrounds has also suggested that the ban restricting operators could be discriminatory. Activist, Colleen Roper argued: “Unfortunately, it does seem that there is an acceptable form of prejudice against the travelling community. If you were to discriminate against any other cultural minority, it would not be acceptable.”