Rising petrol prices, the cost of imports, and keeping up with competitors are concerns raised by Salisbury market traders, after the Queen’s speech promised to “help ease the cost of living”.

Yesterday (Tuesday, May 10), the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge opened Parliament in place of the 96-year-old monarch.

In an unprecedented move, Prince Charles read the Queen’s Speech, saying that the government’s priority is to now “help ease the cost of living for families”.

When we spoke to traders at the Salisbury Charter Market yesterday, they all shared that the cost of travelling around to sell their goods has been impacted by rising costs.

John Bourne, from Weymouth, attends the market every Tuesday and Saturday to sell artificial flowers, a stall he been running for 44 years.

He said that it is “not the government’s fault” that business costs have been on the rise, but international events.

“I deal with some of the companies that import these goods. Pre-pandemic, a container from China to the UK was costing $2,000-2,500. It went up to $22,000. Currently, it is at about $14,000.

“China then went into lockdown and then there was a backlog. Then the Suez Canal crisis affected it. It is not really the government’s fault. It is the perfect storm. The government could, however, implement a windfall tax on gas and oil companies.”

Elan Koszuk, owner of T-shirt business All’s Well Originals, said that it was mainly “petrol costs” that have affected his business.

He is from Chippenham and has been running the business for three years, selling T-shirts in markets in Salisbury, Winchester and Henley-on-Thames.

“We have to travel to get to the markets, and people are not going to spend as freely as before.

“We use organic cotton, and the costs of our goods is going up, because of Covid and the rising cost of energy.

“We do not want to raise our prices. We try to give people sustainable products at an affordable price, but it is not going to be affordable in the long run if it is going to keep rising the way they are, and it is also going to cost people a lot to get here so they may not come at all.”

Chris Merrison, owner of the Little Green Coffee Machine, has been selling coffee from a converted horsebox since 2018.

“The cost of coffee has not gone up yet, although I do anticipate a rise in those costs. Some of our materials have gone up – sugar and stirrers.

“The biggest problem is the competition. We can’t put our prices up or people will go somewhere else, but it impacts my income. We are trying not to let it impact our customers and keep prices competitive but my income takes a dip.”

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