Edinburgh’s Christmas in £70k fine threat

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A ROW between the organiser of the city’s winter attractions and the guild representing Scotland’s travelling showmen is “holding a gun to the head of Edinburgh’s Christmas”, it has been claimed.

The Showmen’s Guild of Britain has threatened to fine Edinburgh’s winter festival at least £70,000 for breaking 125 year-old rules governing how fairground sites are managed, after organisers updated the event’s attractions by bringing in new rides such as the popular Star Flyer.

Charlie Wood, the director of events firm Underbelly, said the rules were “restrictive practices” and “anti-competitive”, and jeopardised the future of the festival which attracted 3.6m visitors last year.

Mr Wood added that the guild were “trying to hold us and by extension the city to ransom. They are holding a gun to the head of Edinburgh’s Christmas.”

Underbelly and Unique Events, who produce the capital’s Hogmanay festival, were awarded a three-year contract, worth £3.9 million, by Edinburgh City Council two years ago.

George Codona, chairman of the guild’s Scottish branch said he could not remember a fine ever being imposed before, but added: “I’m sure this will be resolved amicably.”