Leeds City Council is serving up a timely financial boost that aims to help market traders cope with the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A 15 per cent rent discount will be in place for all indoor and outdoor traders at Leeds City Market for the first three months of 2022. The reduction will also apply to council-run district markets in Pudsey, Otley and Yeadon. The discount is the latest in a series of wide-ranging measures including 18 months of previous rental support taken by the council to assist the city’s market traders since the start of the pandemic.
Market footfall is currently between 15 and 20 per cent down on pre-pandemic levels, while even in normal times the early months of the year are historically a difficult trading period. Today’s announcement also comes as stallholders digest the possible impact of new government restrictions designed to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member with responsibility for economy, culture and education said:
“Our markets are part of the lifeblood of our city and we have been determined to provide them with much-needed support during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope confirmation of the rent discount scheme will give traders a lift ahead of Christmas and let them look forward with more confidence to 2022.
“They, like countless other people across Leeds, have shown immense fortitude over the last two years, so it is with pride that we are able to offer them this support.”
Previous steps taken by the council to bolster the city’s markets in the face of the pandemic include the introduction of a plan allowing traders to spread the payment of arrears accrued during lockdown. Extra help also remains available on a case-by-case basis for those suffering exceptional hardship as a result of COVID-19.
These market-specific measures are just one part of a massive economic support package overseen by the council since the beginning of the pandemic, with more than £290m worth of assistance being distributed to businesses and charities across the city in that time.