London Lockdown: Flower and Food Markets To Be “Closed With No Additional Financial Aid”
Rader in London’s largest wholesale markets warned today that they would not survive the pandemic if they did not get urgent government support.
New Covent Garden Market, New Spitalfields Market and Western International Market supply the capital’s best restaurants and hotels, as well as canteens and schools, with flowers and fresh food.
However, pre-Covid trade is down as much as 90 percent and booth owners say they have been denied financial support to some of their customers in the hospitality industry.
The Covent Garden Tenants Association called for financial assistance, including extending corporate interest exemptions to its markets, tax breaks, and grants for companies facing short-term fresh stocks due to lockdown restrictions.
It has also requested that wholesale flower markets be allowed to open for personal trade in time for Mother’s Day on March 14th, the busiest date on the floral calendar.
Association chairman Gary Marshall said, “The way the government has managed corporate rate relief is unfair. Pubs, restaurants and hotels have rightly received support. But the supermarkets, busy with record sales and profits more than ever, have all received business rate relief that we don’t.
“We are the suppliers to all of these pubs, restaurants and hotels. Without further assistance, I fear that many wholesalers will not be here to help the UK reopen its hospitality industry and make London a success again.”
Traders said they hope that new support measures will be announced in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spring budget next week.