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Support for market traders

Volume 696: debated on Thursday 27 May 2021

The petition of residents of the constituency of Coventry South,

Declares that Coventry Market is one of Britain’s best city markets but it has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak; and further declares that the Government has not provided adequate financial support for the hardworking Coventry Market Traders and other small traders during lockdown and other times of restrictions.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to bring forward measures to support Coventry Market Traders and similar small businesses.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Zarah Sultana, Official Report, 10 February 2021; Vol. 689, c. 430.]


Observations from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Jesse Norman):

The Government thank the hon. Member for Coventry South (Zarah Sultana) for submitting the petition on behalf of her constituents about further measures to support Coventry Market Traders and similar smaller businesses during lockdown and other times of restrictions.

Throughout the pandemic the Government have sought to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods while also supporting businesses across the UK. To do this, the Government have put in place an economic package of measures which will provide businesses with certainty over the coming months even as measures to prevent further spread of the virus ease. To date, the Government have provided a total of £352 billion in support since the start of the pandemic.

The Chancellor announced further measures at the recent Budget to businesses on top of our previous economic responses. This includes a new Restart grant of up to £18,000 to over 680,000 business premises, giving them the cash certainty they need to plan ahead and safely relaunch trading over the coming months. Market and sales kiosk are eligible for the Restart grants of up to £6,000 and Coventry has already received £13.6 million in Restart grants.

Local authorities will also receive an additional £425 million of discretionary business grant funding on top of the £1.6 billion already allocated to allow them to support their local businesses, including market traders.

In order to support businesses and protect jobs, the Chancellor has extended both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) until September 2021. Since the inception of the CJRS, the scheme has helped to pay the wages of 57,000 jobs in Coventry and 28,100 self-employed individuals in Coventry have claimed SEISS grants.

Businesses have also received billions in loans, tax deferrals, business rate reliefs, and general and sector-specific grants.

Thanks to the people’s hard work and sacrifice, supported by the success of the initial stages of the vaccine roll-out, there is now a path to reopening the economy. The Government will continue to take a flexible but cautious approach as we review restrictions, ensuring measures reflect the easing of restrictions will enable businesses to bounce back as quickly as possible.