Burnley market traders to benefit from additional support package

Burnley Council will provide extra support to the town's market traders as they continue to struggle with difficult trading conditions.

By John Deehan
Wednesday, 24th June 2020, 7:00 am

At its meeting last week, Burnley Council’s Executive agreed a package of assistance to market traders in addition to support already provided by government.

Since the market closed on March 24th, traders have benefitted from a £10,000 government grant while also being able to access other government support programmes including the Job Retention Scheme and the Self Employed Income Support Scheme.

The council has now also approved a 50% reduction in rent and service charges until the end of September.

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Burnley Councilapproved a 50% reduction in rent and service charges until the end of September for market hall traders

Coun. Gordon Birtwistle, Executive member for economy and growth, said: “Although we are aware that some market traders are not happy with the support package, it is our view that this is a good offer that builds on the Government Grant support they have already received. It is much more generous than traders occupying privately owned shops will be getting.

"The council is facing a major budget deficit and we cannot afford to meet market traders demands without cutting services elsewhere and this would not be fair to other council tax payers in the town. Going forward I am happy to meet with a representative group of the market traders to look at how we can make the market hall prosper."

Burnley Council has already put in place social distancing measures and extra staffing to allow the market hall to safely reopen.

The Executive made its decision in the context of a projected £3.2m budget deficit for the 2020/21 financial year due to lost income and additional costs as a result of Covid-19.

In addition to the projected pre-covid deficit, the market has been in annual budget deficit of circa £82,000 per annum in recent years.

Over the last few years the council has invested £130,000 in the market hall to help create the “market kitchen” , boasting an eating area and stalls fitted with extraction to alleviate issues raised by tenants and customers as well as creating new business opportunities. The public toilets and the Curzon Street entrance have also been upgraded.

Prior to Covid-19 the council had introduced a “Pre-Loved Market” on a Wednesday in response to demand and a bi-monthly vinyl record market.

These were put on hold but will be re-instated as soon as the situation allows.

A council spokesman added: "The council is determined to support the Burnley Market but like all things, there will need to be changes which reflect the new world of commerce which will undoubtedly arise from the recent experiences of a Covid-19 world."