Amongst the vast array of businesses in Glasgow’s East End, we are also fortunate to have Scotland’s largest indoor market The Forge Market, which has been on the go now since 1995.
Looking at my casework, I am in no doubt that the outbreak of Coronavirus has meant it’s been a challenging time for many business owners. And whilst a range of support has been available to help businesses during the pandemic, one group which was falling through the cracks were market traders who rent space in a larger property.
Put simply, these businesses were not able to access the £10,000 business support grant which provided much needed cash. The Forge Market is a perfect example of this, where over 100 traders rent their stalls - many of whom have been on the go for years.
Over the last while, I’ve been lobbying Scottish Government Ministers to look again at this situation and I’m delighted that this has paid off and will give a bit of financial security to traders. So, a particular thank you to my Government colleagues Kate Forbes MSP and Ben MacPherson MSP who listened to our case and have brought forward action to assist.
As we begin to slowly ease out of lockdown, I know many of us are looking forward to getting back to the Forge Market and picking up some bargains. For now, though, this access to the business support grant will help keep the businesses afloat to ensure there’s a market to return to.
Read my original letter to the Scottish Government below:
Dear Cabinet Secretary,
RE: Coronavirus Business Support Fund
Recently, many small business owners who operate from units within the Forge Market in Parkhead have been in touch with me to advise of issues they have come across in regard to the above-mentioned fund.
In my own constituency, the Forge Market is home to over 110 individual traders with a wide range of goods, services and produce on offer. Unfortunately, I am beginning to notice a trend that these traders are being turned down for the Support Fund due to a loophole in the scheme for traders who sublet units from larger businesses and are, therefore, not eligible as ratepayers.
As I understand, the purpose of the one-off grant is to help protect jobs, prevent business closure and to promote economic recovery. It would, therefore, be incredibly disappointing if businesses, such as those within the Forge, are unable to continue trading and offering services to their communities due to this loophole.
Is this a matter which could be looked into for not only the business owners and sole traders within my own constituency but those across Scotland who may be finding similar issues?
David Linden MP