Speaking at the annual National Association of British Market Authorities conference in Buxton, the minister said a well run market can be a hub of social activity, a centre of community enterprise, tourist asset and a focal meeting point for local people. Markets have a key role in helping to build stronger communities and the ‘Big Society’.
Despite this, recent studies show that while speciality markets like farmer’s markets thrive, some traditional retail markets are struggling with the growth of out-of-town supermarkets, the recession and internet shopping.
To help address this Mr Stunell announced a trio of measures, brought together by the government and the industry, to support existing markets and help potential enterprising traders get started:
- a practical advice guide for markets: highlighting their benefits, areas of good practice and pointing traders to more detailed information on specific concerns
- a market management report: examining the pros and cons of various ways in which markets can be managed so councils and private operators can see which is the best model for them
business support: 15 training modules and guides that will be launched by the National Market Traders Federation next month to support new and existing traders.
Andrew Stunell said:
“Markets have been the birthplace of towns and cities in this country and across the world. English markets founded over a 1,000 years ago are still going strong. Today markets sit at the heart of a town’s local economy, offering cheap and healthy food, encouraging local enterprise and acting as important cultural attractions.
“I’m pleased to announce a package of advice and training for traders and managers today that will help reverse the recent decline that has started in many traditional retail markets.
“This package taps into the knowledge and expertise of the best market traders and we believe it can support traders, old and new, so that they can continue to contribute to the rich variety of local life for many years to come.”
There are over 1,100 traditional retail markets and over 600 Farmers Markets operating in the UK today. Turnover is in excess of £3.5 billion from 45,000 micro businesses supporting almost 100,000 jobs.
Joe Harrison, Chief Executive of the National Market Traders Federation said:
“The work that the government and the markets industry have done to get to this stage has been groundbreaking. I believe that the three products launched by Markets Minister Andrew Stunell today will support existing and potential traders so that they can continue to contribute to the local economy and wider regeneration of an area.”
Graham Wilson Chief Executive of the National Association of British Market Authorities added:
“The National Association of British Market Authorities and colleagues in the Retail Markets Alliance are delighted that their work with government has resulted in these important resources for the markets industry.”