TRADERS at Swansea Market are to receive another cash injection to help them through the current lockdown. Last year the Market was named Britain’s best large indoor market in the Great British Market Awards.
Details of a package of measures that involves rent subsidies of up to 70% are being given to the traders. They will be backdated to the middle of November 2020 and will run to the end of the financial year.
It follows the cancellation of rent payments and other subsidies totalling more than £600,000 since the pandemic started last March.
Robert Francis-Davies, the Cabinet member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, said there was probably no council-operated indoor market in England and Wales which was being better supported.
Together with the latest rent subsidy and funding for market improvements such as new public toilets, improved entrances and the development of a smart new multi-use central area, the council will have invested more than £1m in the market this year.
He said the latest steps were a recognition that market traders will continue to face challenges in the months ahead and that the council was committed to the market’s recovery and success after the pandemic.
Some traders have continued operating during lockdown because they provide essential services like food. But the vast majority have had to close temporarily.
In the wake of the first lockdown, traders paid no rent at all for 20 weeks. Since then rent discounts have ranged from 70% to 30% and now traders who can demonstrate a 40% reduction in turnover from 15 November 2020 to 4 April 2021 (outside of lockdown periods) can also apply for up to a 40% reduction in rent.
The subsidy package offers more support than has been available to traders in Carmarthen, Llanelli and Neath as well as similar-sized markets in England.
Cllr Francis-Davies said:
“We know how much people love the market and we understand that the last year has been tough for traders just as it has been for many other businesses.
“That’s why – despite the demand for many other council services like social care and support for those facing poverty and hardship – we’ve continued to invest in the market as well as the traders themselves.
“We recognise that the months ahead will continue to be unpredictable which is why we’ve introduced a rent subsidy programme that is worth a total of £217,000 to the traders during the current Alert Level 4 period.
“Apart from the direct and indirect support we’ve put in place, many market traders have been entitled to claim a series of Welsh Government business grants worth up to £10,000 each in some cases.
“It is hoped that in addition to the grants and support available to traders from the Welsh Government, this further rent subsidy will make a real difference.”