Christmas markets see trade fall due to ‘Brexit red tape’ | Daily News Byte

Christmas markets see trade fall due to ‘Brexit red tape’

 | Daily News Byte

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The number of businesses at UK Christmas markets has fallen by more than a fifth since Brexit, it has emerged – with some of Britain’s biggest cities hardest hit by the decline.

The first post-Covid markets this year will have 21 per cent fewer traders compared to pre-Brexit figures, local authority figures Independent show

UK capitals saw some of the sharpest slowdowns, with almost half of traders at Edinburgh’s flagship Christmas market this year expected to be before the UK leaves the EU.

London’s West End recorded the biggest decline of all those surveyed, falling from 247 businesses in 2019 to just 119 this year – a drop of 51 per cent.

International campaign group Best for Britain – which obtained the figures from more than 50 councils following a freedom of information request – said it was clear that post-Brexit red tape was a major “deterrent” for seasonal traders coming from EU countries.

Leeds was forced to cancel its ‘Christkindlmarkt’ market this year, with organizers citing post-Brexit “costs and complications” as the main factor in the cancellation of traders from Germany.

While other factors including rising energy costs and roadworks are having an impact, leading market planners say the industry has been hit hard by Brexit bureaucracy.

Market Place Europe – which operates Christmas markets around the UK – said many EU traders had pulled out due to “restrictions and requirements” after Brexit.

“Brexit appears to have had a significant impact on the number of EU traders attending Christmas markets in the UK,” said managing director Alan Hartwell. Independent.

“From what I’m hearing from other Christmas market operators, there are very few EU traders in attendance,” he added. “Leeds Market has been canceled this year and Southampton had almost the same fate, as many of the main traders were not traveling from Germany.”

Mr Hartwell noted that because of the Northern Ireland Protocol arrangement, EU traders can operate more easily in Belfast than in cities in mainland Great Britain. Belfast’s Christmas market bucked the trend, growing by 15 per cent compared to 2019.

Naomi Smith, chief executive of Best for Britain – which campaigns for closer ties with the EU – said it was “clear that Christmas markets across the country are also feeling the fallout from this panto government’s turkey of a Brexit deal”.

She added: “Brexit red tape has made it more expensive to do business and is an effective deterrent to European traders setting up shop in UK city centres. The Government must work to rebuild closer economic partnerships with our nearest neighbors or we can expect more next year.” are

Christmas markets contributed up to £500m in direct spending across England and Wales in 2017, according to the Local Government Association.

The latest findings add to concerns that Brexit will hurt seasonal economies, with previous research showing a 45 per cent drop in the number of British acts at Europe’s summer music festivals.

Music industry experts have also pointed to the impact of Brexit on UK festival spending after it was announced that Glastonbury tickets will be 26 per cent more expensive next year.

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