The Lib Dems are proposing to defer this year’s 2.5% increase from April to July. Footfall in the market square, as measured by Cambridge BID, is still depressed by over 7% versus pre-Covid levels and market trade is unlikely to get back to normal until tourism fully recovers.
Cllr Katie Porrer, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Market Ward commented:
"We know how difficult it has been for our valued local market traders during the pandemic, who have provided an essential open air shopping environment for so many residents over the last two years. This was not aided by the ill-thought out and prolonged closure of the market by the council in the New Year of 2021, which we opposed. Most are small independent businesses with fragile margins.
"This budget amendment allows for three months' grace before the increase is implemented, by which time we hope that footfall and traders' business will have returned much nearer to normal in the city. It will encourage existing traders to remain with us in the city centre and support new ones as they find their feet.
"The council has already held back on increasing fees for our taxis and street trading licences (which doesn’t include stall holders in the market square) so it seems reasonable to offer a concession to our market traders too, whilst optimal business conditions return. Having our open air market is such a benefit to residents and visitors alike and we want to do everything we can to protect our stall holders."