The Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Fringe accommodation petition

Performers' union Equity has launched a public petition concerning the escalating costs of accommodation in Edinburgh.

A number of factors have combined this year to put an especially hard squeeze on the availability - and thus cost - of accommodation in Scotland's capital during the Festival Fringe season, after a number of years of increasing prices.

The union is now petitioning Scotland's nationalist devolved government; the city's council and Edinburgh University, to address the issue before it continues or escalates further, risking damage to the Fringe.

The council and the university are the only organisations that make any notable amount of income from the annual arts festivals, between them licensing the display of large posters across the city, enabling road closures, and renting out their buildings as performance and accommodation spaces.

A new analysis of the Fringe published last week estimates that the annual event adds more than £1 billion extra to the Scottish economy.

Equity explains: "The cost of accommodation while performing at the Fringe has long been a concern, but this year the cost seems to have increased exponentially on previous years. There is a real danger that without concerted action to address this in future years, the cost could put the Fringe beyond the reach of a growing number of us - performers, comedians and other participants. This could have a serious impact on the diversity and quality of acts on offer that could risk its future success."

There is similar concern that the public will also be squeezed out of attending the festival for the same reasons.

The union hopes to work with all stakeholders "to investigate how provision could be made for performers and others working at the Fringe to be able to access affordable accommodation next year and in future years, to ensure its future success, diversity and sustainability in the years ahead".

Read and sign the petition at Change.org now