Funfair Guild proposes looser rules to Competition and Markets Authority

Alys Key
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Oktoberfest 2014 - Opening Day
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New rules could open up the business of travelling funfairs to greater competition.

The Showmen's Guild of Great Britain has bowed to pressure from the competition watchdog to loosen its grip on the operations of funfairs.

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The Guild has put forward proposals which would allow funfairs more freedom in where they are st up, and open up Guild-run fairs to non-members.

These include allowing landowners to change or improve a fair by turning to different amusement operators. Currently, members can boycott the whole fair if a local authority tries to alter it.

Membership of the Guild would become easier to obtain, with the scrapping of the requirement that existing members must recommend new ones.

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Restrictions on how close rival fairs can open to Guild fairs are also set to be reduced. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has suggested that the current two mile distance rule be reduced to one mile.

The move follows criticism from the CMA last year, which alleged that the Guild's rules restricted competition and deprived fair-goers of improved rides and experiences.

Ann Pope, senior director of Antitrust at the CMA said: "We believe that the current restrictions hinder change and innovation in funfairs.

"The new rules will enable more competition in travelling fairs potentially giving the millions of fairgoers who attend them every year access to new rides and to different fairs in their local area."

The proposed rule changes will now be put before those who are likely to be affected before the CMA accepts them to become legally binding.

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