Royal Highland income slashed by £4m due to coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a £4m drop in income for the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), according to its latest accounts.

A “no show” year and the mass cancellation of events scheduled to take place at the Royal Highland Centre were the main contributors to the 44% drop in income for the year ending 30 November 2020, compared to the previous year (£9.01m).

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But the society said a drop in spending, including redundancies and wage cuts, as well as government grants and insurance compensation, have helped secure its future.

Spending was down 46% to £5.28m in 2020, compared to £9.75m in 2019.

Fundraising campaigns secured more than £500,000 in the year, and the RHASS thanked the farming community for its support.

RHASS chief executive Alan Laidlaw said: “The detrimental impact of Covid-19 on the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society lays bare the fight we had on our hands to save not only the show, but the society at large.

“Our membership showed its support through retaining and renewing their membership, taking out life membership for family members, and of course donating to the Save Your Show campaign.

“I am so proud and humbled to be able to say that, thanks to their efforts, the actions of our trustees and the diversification of activity, the show has been saved.” 

An online show will be held this summer after £750,000 of funding was provided by the Scottish government.

Livestock judging, showjumping and other competitions will be streamed live from the Ingliston showground, near Edinburgh.

RHASS chairman Bill Gray said: “There has been a gigantic effort by our membership, volunteer RHASS directors, staff and the wider agri-community, which has ensured the society has so far weathered this challenging time not only intact, but emerging stronger for the future.”