A FORMER clerk of Oswestry Town Council has called on the government to invest in markets to protect self-employed businesses when the coronavirus outbreak is under control.

Dave Preston stepped down as clerk in 2019 to become chief executive of The National Association of British Markets (NABMA) which supports markets across the country.

Mr Preston believes that NABMA has found five areas of support needed from the government for its members, having worked with other stakeholders, including its own policy team and the state-led Cities and Local Growth Unit.

He insists that government support will help markets –including Oswestry's Indoor Market – continue to play the role he believes they have for hundreds of years.

"Markets are part of the fabric of towns and cities across the UK," said Mr Preston.

"Each market reflects the character of its neighbourhood and many examples exist whereby over hundreds of years markets have been at the centre of community life, providing livelihoods for numerous businesses, and a source for local produce and other items.

"They are the breeding grounds for low-risk business start-up and will have a major role to play in the aftermath of coronavirus in their historic settings.

"Sadly, they are now at the crossroads and for the majority to even survive, and then have a future, they need support, investment and encouragement.

"NABMA looks to government to now give that investment and confidence to an industry that that has been part of community and commerce for many centuries."

Among the five areas are support for traders and small businesses through help from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC); a business interruption compensation scheme which would be on a case-by-case basis; market start back scheme which NABMA believes could be directed from any of the £1 billion heading to the Future High Street fund.

Also, NABMA believes that business rates could be used to support a return for markets plus a national programme of restoration led by themselves.

For more about NABMA's response through coronavirus, head to https://nabma.com/covid-19-coronavirus/