Further to our emails on the Budget and Coronavirus, below is a draft template of a letter that you may wish to send to your local MP seeking support and practical help for markets at this difficult time. Please feel free to change as you wish but the key points are seeking support, if possible, to keep markets trading due to the number of small businesses as accommodated. Also to seek assurances that the business incentives in last weeks budget will fully extend to markets and market traders.
NABMA Chief Executive
Dear Member of Parliament
URGENT HELP REQUIRED – MARKETS
The National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA) represents retail and wholesale market operators throughout the United Kingdom. The majority of members are local authorities but they also represent a wide range of other market operators.
As a NABMA member I am responsible for the operation of markets at ( ). We provide trading for ( ) small businesses
As our local Member of Parliament I am seeking your assistance to campaign with government to keep local markets trading at this unprecedented time, wherever possible, recognising the number of small businesses dependent on such trade for their livelihood, and the pivotal role they can play in delivering local food and supplies.
I am also seeking your support to ensure that the business incentives in last weeks budget also fully reflect on markets and market traders.
Firstly, it is clear that the Coronavirus outbreak is already having a major affect on markets. Many markets and market traders are now fearing for their futures.
As background, the last survey of the markets industry indicated that there are around 1,150 regular traditional markets in the UK and around 85% of these markets are operated or managed by local authorities. These markets play an important role in their local communities, beyond just retail.
Secondly, both NABMA and our markets are keen to ensure markets enjoy the benefits of the Chancellor’s recent package of assistance to business. In one very important area we would seek your support with regard to business rates levied on markets, and particularly local authority markets.
Many markets are theoretically in a position to take advantage of the Chancellor’s recent announcement on abolishing business rates under £51,000. Unfortunately local authority markets cannot do this because the ability to grant relief falls under Section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, and under that part of the Act a local authority is unable to allow relief to itself.
NABMA has already taken up this issue with the Local Government Association (LGA) and understands that there is currently discretion for a local authority to grant relief to itself, but only in respect of the provision of public conveniences. We would ask, as a matter of urgency, that the discretion is extended to markets.
Until this discretion is applied we have an unfair situation as only markets operated by private operators are in a position to take advantage of the business rates concession as just announced. Giving local authority markets freedom from business rates liability will help them to face the challenges that currently exist, and provide them with hope for a more confident future.
In summary, NABMA is urging government support for the markets industry. The 1,150 regular traditional markets support tens of thousands of small businesses. Markets also have a significant role to play in the future of town and city centres evidenced by the government funding earmarked for the high street.
This is a critical time for the markets industry and many small businesses who now face a very uncertain future. Would you please therefore highlight our concerns to the Chancellor so that the value of local markets to local people and local supplies is fully recognised. Also that the package of assistance to business through the Budget fully includes markets and market traders.
Your cooperation and support for your local market will be invaluable.