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"There were no breaches of contract" say Airshow bosses as Council pull £250,000 funding support

Airshow bosses insist they have not breached any of the funding contract put in place by South Ayrshire Council - while council chiefs say the opposite.

Photo: ADN Edited Collage

The event that brings in over 180,000 people from Ayrshire and all over the world, and millions of pounds to our local economy has had it's funding support withdrawn from South Ayrshire Council.

A quote from Depute Leader of the Council, Brian McGinley in September 2018 spoke about the local economy, he said:

"With £5 million generated for the local economy last year, we expect similar benefits this year with retailers, restaurants and other businesses reaping the rewards of increased visitor numbers and tourism spend."

But with the Council pulling out of it's £250,000 funding support for the Airshow this week, it puts the events future on the line, as well as the glowing numbers generated for the local economy.

South Ayrshire Council said they are 'disappointed' that the organisers of the Scottish International Airshow have breached their funding agreement - leaving them with no option but to withdraw funding and terminate the contract with event organisers.

But why? Well, the Council say they made an advanced payment of £80,000 in error to the organisers, and on 2 December 2019, and again on 9 December 2019, they asked the organisers how this money had been spent.

South Ayrshire Council said in the statement:

"The organisers did not provide us with this information. We then asked the organisers to repay the £80,000 and they did not repay this.

"The organisers agreed that they would have reserve funds to support the 2020 event to be able to pay their contractors, but they repeatedly told us that they did not have these funds.

"When the organisers did provide us with their financial information, on 5 February 2020, it was clear that the £80,000 was being used to pay off debts from the 2018 event."

However, Airshow bosses say they are not in breach of any contract and that they asked to meet with Council leaders 'many times' to talk about the dispute with the Airshow. Organisers say "they would not meet".

In response to the Councils statement the Airshow issued the following, this morning:

"The Airshow could only work if it was a partnership between some hard working and visionary people of the Council who partnered the small Airshow team and built an amazing event from nothing to a European class Airshow in less that 5 years.

"We did ask to meet with South Ayrshire Council leaders many times to talk about the dispute with the Airshow. They would not meet.

"We did ask that we attend the meeting of the Councillors this week to explain what has happened and why the Airshow could still go ahead. They refused to talk to us.

"We did ask that the Council talk to us before they send out any press statements. They won’t talk to us or even send us a copy of their words.

"There were no breaches of the Airshow contract and we asked the Councillors or Council leaders to talk with us about what has happened. They refused to talk.

"The payment that was made to start the Airshow work for 2020 was not made in error. It was fully discussed between the Airshow and the Council. It was then discussed within the Council and authorised under their normal processes.

"We will consider all that our former partners in the Council have said and we will respond."

This whole situation leaves the future of the biggest event Ayrshire has seen up in the air - with tourists and locals questioning if the event will be happening this year.

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