PMQs: MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough calls for government support on markets
MP for Harrogate and Knaresbororugh, Andrew Jones, has called on the government to confirm their support for traditional market towns like Knaresborough in the 'age of the internet'.
Following a fiery debate between Labour's Shadow Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, Emily Thornberry and Minister for the Cabinet Office , David Lidington, over reducing the age to legally vote, Mr Jones entered his question at a session of Prime Minister's Questions today (January 31).
He said: "A vibrant High Street is critical in traditional market towns like Knareborough in my constituency where there has been a market there since 1310. In this age of internet shopping will my right honourable friend confirm the government's support for traditional markets and policies which will boost the High Street?"
Standing in place of Prime Minister, Theresa May, who is currently on an official visit in China, Mr Lidington said that the government wanted to support towns like Knaresborough during an age of 'rapid change in retail environments'.
He said: "Mr Speaker my honourable friend is right to speak up for his constituents, I know he is a tireless campaigner for Harrogate and Knaresborough. Markets like the one in Knaresborough are part of the local fabric and tradition of towns right across this country, what the government wants to do is to help those markets and town centres to prosper in what is, at the same time, a rapidly changing retail environment.
"I am sure my right honourable friend the Community Secretary will write to him."
A 'Retail Inquiry ' was recently established by Mr Jones and Conservative councillors to survey the state of the market and High Street in Knaresborough.
Following a public meeting to discuss the potential options for improving both Knaresborough and Ripon markets in December, Harrogate Borough Council will also soon be establishing a working group, including representatives from both markets.
A public meeting is currently scheduled for Monday, February 8 in Ripon and an additional meeting is to be scheduled for Knaresborough.