Get this rent thing sorted out,
NMTF urges operators

THE NMTF is pleased to see more and more operators giving traders rent concessions after we issued an appeal.

We said we were concerned that the majority of local authority operators were insisting that traders continue to pay rents for stalls that they cannot use.

We had been told of a handful of operators who have waived rents and thanks go to them:

LSD Promotions in the Midlands, Barnsley, Bolton, Bradford, Calderdale, Rawtenstall, Derby, Hull, Tavistock, East Riding Council, Truro Pannier, Cambridge, London Borough of Camden, Canterbury, Royal Borough of Greenwich, Tower Hamlets, Mendip, Pontypool, Lymington and Plymouth.

Social media and field support contacts brought quick responses from operators waiving rents:

Bishop’s Stortford • Old Kent Market Margate • Thame • Cherwell District Council (Banbury, Bicester, Kidlington) • Wallingford • Carterton • Skipton • Derbyshire Dales • Harborough District Council • Blandford Forum • Bakewell • Kirklees • Leighton Buzzard • Portobello and Goldborne Road (London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) • Epping • Bray Associates • Ely Markets (East Cambridgeshire District Council – East Cambs Trading Co) • Abergavenny • Bury • Birmingham • Dudley • Sheffield

Several markets have said they have “suspended” rents, but since it is unclear whether that means the traders will have to pay later they have not been included.

NEW — Stockport’s market manager Donna Tuxford has clarified the position from its point of view on its decision to “suspend” payments:

Whether or not they are trading as “essentials”,  at the moment the traders are not being asked for rent payments. When we get out of this dreadful situation, and taking into account the impact of financial support from Government, Market Place and Stockport MBC will decide whether the suspended rents have to be paid, or whether they will be waived altogether.

Food sellers can continue to trade — unless their market has been closed down altogether. But non-food traders are in a situation that threatens their livelihoods.

The NMTF says that many non-food traders who have had to close their businesses will not survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

By the nature of the industry many traders, particularly those on outdoor markets, do not pay business rates and therefore do not qualify for the grants available.

A parliamentary petition is aimed at getting the Government to sort out that anomaly. You can sign it here.

NMTF CEO Joe Harrison said it was also unfair to market traders that supermarkets could carry on as normal selling a full range of goods.

“The Government has announced a package of measures for the self-employed but frankly there is no real financial support for thousands of traders,” he said.

“If they have to continue to pay rent when they cannot trade I fear many of them will go under, and that will have a considerable impact on the retail markets industry.”

Bradford’s markets manager Colin Wolstenholme has elaborated on his council’s decision to help its traders.Posting to our Facebook page Colin wrote:
At Bradford we quickly made a decision within days of the govt lockdown to cancel rather than suspend rents at our retail markets to remove any cash flow uncertainties for our market traders. Whilst some of our essential food traders are operating in a limited way their rents have also been cancelled. In these unprecedented times we don’t think it’s sustainable to charge, or delay, rents even though some market traders have received limited govt support. Also , we may have to consider further financial support when partial/full opening returns.