Last week our NABMA President, Councillor Geraldine Carter, formally wrote to the Chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), Councillor James Jamieson. The email highlighted the devastation being experienced by the markets industry as a result of COVID-19 ; the details within the NABMA Support Plan for Markets and formally seeking the support of the LGA for the NABMA Plan in lobbying government for essential assistance.
A reply has now been received. The LGA Chairman said:
“I completely agree with you about the important role that markets have played in the life of town centres and how they have continued to evolve and innovate, often being centrepiece to many high street regeneration projects”.
It was then acknowledged that:
“Markets will continue to play an important role in this journey and NABMA will have an important role to play in promoting and securing their future. I am keen to see that Government’s support through the Future High Streets Fund and Stronger Towns Fund is accelerated and expanded as necessary and that maximum freedom is given to councils and local partners to ensure that the funds are spent on aiding a quick recovery for all businesses. Economic recovery is becoming an increasing focus across Government and councils. It will be important for NABMA to link in to councils as they develop local economic recovery plans. We will continue to flag the need for further business support in our discussion with ministers and officials”.
On the NABMA representations made on the issue of business rates and the need for parity for all market operators the LGA Chairman has confirmed that:
“The Statutory business rates reliefs for local authority markets would require a change in the law. The Government has said it remains committed to a fundamental review of business rates and we will raise the issue concerning relief for markets along with other issues”.
NABMA continues its discussions with the LGA and will update members as further information becomes available.