Charity markets hit by charges bombshell
Reporter: MARINA BERRY
Date online: 10 July 2013
NEW Oldham Council charges could signal the end for many local charity markets and sales.
The warning comes from Saddleworth Museum curator Peter Fox after he learned of a new £40 minimum charge by the council for each of the museum’s monthly farmers markets.
The new fees — £40 for the first 20 stalls, plus £2 for each stall after that — will affect charities holding temporary markets, fleamarkets, farmers’ markets and car-boot sales. Previously these charity-run events were exempt from charges.
Mr Fox said the move would force the museum, a registered charity, to look at the long-term viability of its popular farmers’ market.
He criticised Oldham Council for slapping charities with the fee: “This could jeopardise our farmers’ market. We will have to transfer some of the cost to the stallholders. There are only between eight and 10 stalls at the market and it wouldn’t take much for some of them to say it isn’t worth their while to come.
“So many of these events are run by volunteers who spend a lot of their own time and work very hard raising money. It is certainly not much in line with Oldham promoting itself as a co-operative community council.”
Councillor Jean Stretton, Oldham Council’s Cabinet member for co-operatives and neighbourhoods, said: “There are costs to the council in administering applications to run this type of event. Given the scale of cuts imposed on the council by central Government, we have to cover these costs.”
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