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The government's plans to abolish ancient market franchise rights as part of its drive to lighten regulations gover...
The government's plans to abolish ancient market franchise rights as part of its drive to lighten regulations governing business could cost councils millions of pounds and push up council tax bills, the Association of Metropolitan Authorities said today.

AMA Chairman Jeremy Beecham said: 'The franchise rights - some of which are contained in Royal Charters dating back 700 years - allow local authorities to challenge any application for a market within a six and two thirds mile radius of an existing franchised market.

'Their abolition will lead to a free for all, forced existing traders out of business and cut the £110 million gross rental income from markets which our members currently earn. As we won't get any compensation for these losses council tax bills will have to be increased'.

Mr Beecham said other regulation changes would have to be carefully examined.

'The task forces consisted solely of business representatives, so clearly reflect their priorities. Local government was not consulted about what it thought could be cut.

'So while welcoming the opportunity to improve and simplify regulations for business - indeed we wish the government would do the same for local government - we must make sure that deregulation is not at the expense of the health, safety and welfare of the public.

'We are concerned the ministers are giving themselves wide powers to remove or reduce regulations outside the scope of this Bill. These must be properly scrutinised and constrained in the public interest'.

Shadow local government minister Doug Henderson the clauses in the Deregulation Bill relating to markets and sales of goods are 'most unwise'.

'It is widely recognised that a lot of burglars use car boot sales as a means of reselling what they steal. What the public needs are tougher rules to protect honest vendors and deal with the dishonest.

'The Tories say that they are tough on crime. But these proposals could amount to a crook's charter'.

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