The mayor of London is to invest more than £20m into the capital’s network of markets.
City Hall will be investing £20m from its Good Growth Fund plus an additional £3m to support with street markets, covered markets and wholesale markets.
It comes alongside news of an revamped London Markets Board, designed to support London markets and help them to thrive, and the creation of a new online application process for market pitch booking.
A group of 19 business leaders, traders and entrepreneurs have all been appointed to the mayor’s London Markets Board and will advise the mayor on action to support and promote the capital’s markets and help to deliver a London markets strategy.
The Blue Market, Bermondsey, received £2m from the mayor’s office and an additional £1m from Southwark Council as it “was on its knees”, according to Sadiq Khan, mayor of London.
Khan said investment in markets was particularly important during the cost of living crisis as it offered a “lifeline” to many consumers by providing “affordable, fruit, food, goods and services”.
“If you are somebody who can’t afford buying stuff where you normally bought them, think about going to a market to buy stuff from there,” he said.
He added that markets were also a “circular economy” in the community with most market stalls held by locals.
“When you think about the price of renting properties, when you look at the difficulties you have from landlords who don’t want to go to an independent trader, they want to go to a chain, markets are a way to get into business,” said Khan. “Markets are a way in, and you can flourish and thrive.”
He also said that there was an added benefit to markets in that, “you get to socialise. It’s a community hub. If you are lonely, you can go to the market, have a chat with the guy that sells the fish or the woman that sells the fruit or the person who sells the fabric and so on and so forth.
“Don’t underestimate the importance of community cohesion, social integration but also making friends with London markets,” added Khan.
During the pandemic, the mayor supported the recovery of street markets through programmes including his Good Growth Fund and High Streets for All scheme.
“The glory days aren’t behind [markets], it is possible the glory days in front of them,” said Khan.