Market town boost set up

Ministers are preparing to lead a new cross-departmental initiative intended to revive traditional town centre markets.

Local government minister Rosie Winterton will head a working group that is set to include key representatives drawn from the markets industry.

"While the rise of out-of-town supermarkets, internet shopping and the current economic climate have all made life more difficult for markets, they still have the potential to thrive," Winterton insisted.

The group, which includes the DCLG, DEFRA and the DCMS, will encourage local authorities to use licensing powers to permit new market stalls.

National Association of British Market Authorities chief executive and Retail Markets Alliance spokesman Graham Wilson responded: "The government's support will enable us to raise the profile and quality of markets and enhance the contribution that they make to a number of key policy areas."

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