6 December 2013 – UK Select Committee report on traditional markets

mkt fruitIn 2009, the UK government’s Select Committee for Communities and Local Government conducted a wide-ranging inquiry into traditional markets. The final report – Market Failure? Can the traditional  market survive? http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmcomloc/308/30802.htm – concluded that competition from supermarkets and other low-cost discounters, neglect by local authorities, the difficulty of attracting new traders, a struggling wholesale market sector and a restrictive regulatory context had all left a feeling of market decline. However, the Select Committee  also acknowledged that the social benefits generated by markets were as important as the economic benefits, including the role they play in town centre regeneration, in supplying fresh and affordable food and in helping to reduce the environmental impacts of the retail sector. Simply because the economic value of traditional markets has diminished, it does not mean they are no longer of any significance. In other words, as Michele de La Pradelle puts it so well, there is a need to overcome only valuing food provisioning systems with high economic stakes and low social relations.

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