Market stalls lockdown rent to be waived

Published Wednesday 16 September 2020 at 16:06

Blackburn with Darwen Council will not be collecting rent from market traders for the lockdown period.

The period will cover the 3 months of April to June in recognition of the length of time that Blackburn and Darwen markets were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is hoped that this will give further support to the markets following their reopening in June. Trading has been more challenging since businesses reopened as vital Covid-secure measures such as social distancing were implemented.

The decision to provide support is in line with similar decisions taken by other Lancashire authorities.

The decision was made at the Council’s Executive Board last week. The costs of this will be submitted to the Government as part of the claim to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government later this month for financial support, as promised by the Secretary of State back in July, to provide assistance by part funding some of the losses incurred in respect of sales, fees and charges.

Councillor Vicky McGurk, Executive Member for Finance and Governance, said:

We are very proud of our markets and the stallholders and staff. Our markets and traders are central to both Blackburn and Darwen and are hugely valued and cherished by residents and visitors.

Along with the majority of businesses, the markets were forced to close during the lockdown in March and while some help was provided through the government’s Business Rate Grant schemes, we know that trading conditions have been difficult since they reopened.

While the market traders received a Business Rate Grant which helped in part to cover their business expenditure incurred over the period, now that they are open, we have found that footfall in the markets is reduced and has been slow to pick up over the last two months.

We have taken this measure because we want the markets to prosper as much as possible so we hope this will help and help them more quickly recover.”

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