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26 November 2012
Responding to Government plans to scrap the Pedlars Act and remove council powers to refuse applications from street traders based on the number of existing shops and traders in a particular area, Cllr Mehboob Khan, Chairman of the Local Government Association's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:
"Councils are working hard to boost growth and support local businesses and will always consider applications from street traders based on their merits. Removing the ability of residents, businesses and local authorities to have a say on where street traders can set up would be both unnecessary and counterproductive.
"This could potentially turn the nation's high streets into a free-for-all for street traders, while scrapping the Pedlars Act risks jeopardising the progress councils have made in tackling the rising tide of bogus cold callers who prey on the elderly and vulnerable.
"The work local authorities do to regulate street trading is not just about protecting customers, but ensuring other businesses can prosper too. Far from boosting growth and free enterprise, allowing a street trade free-for-all is likely to drive customers away from the high street and create an unlevel playing where legitimately run shops and market stalls find themselves struggling to compete.
"Scrapping the Pedlars Act is likely to lead to an increase in door-to-door cold calling and could potentially put the public at greater risk of falling victim to rogue traders and rip-off merchants."