The market trader’s tale
Christmas markets are fun. Our Europe-minded Hammersmith Council runs two.
And they welcomed EM-HKCF participation. For a campaigning group like ours it was a chance to test the waters about Brexit.
What we expected was a sense of solidarity among the crowd. We are in a strongly pro-Europe area. In Chelsea and Fulham which voted 70% Remain we have in Greg Hands MP a Remainer before the referendum, a Brexiter now in government. His majority halved at the election.
We have in Hammersmith a solidly Remain MP in Andy Slaughter who increased his share of the vote from 50% to 64%. Signs are that Brexit was a factor.
But what we also got on these market days was what Brexit means to locals living the Brexit effect and not just the politicians.
Here is one stall holder from the North End Road telling it like it is.
‘I start work at 11pm to get to the wholesale market. I finish my day at 5 pm. That’s always tough. But now with Brexit it’s much worse. Less produce arrives. With the drop in the pound we can’t compete with Continentals. In my line we see the Germans getting there first and then exporting their stock to Russia. And I’ve had to put the £1.00 baskets up to £1.50. We still have the cheapest prices in London, but I am hitting my North End Road customers and I hate it.'
The fact that the Germans and Russians stand to gain may be part of an urban myth. But what this story tells us is that, due to Brexit, the formerly level playing field for market traders like him now has a distinct downward slope.
We’ll be bringing you more local stories of how Brexit is hitting home.
Anne Corbett - Chair