Small businesses vote to set up East End Trades Guild to fight rent rises

Small traders and shopkeepers are setting up a co-operative guild to stop big businesses and rocketing rent threatening their livelihood in London’s East End.

The traders met last night to plan how to tackling an onslaught from the City which they say threatens their livelihood and the future of East End local communities.

More than 30 who turned up to a steering meeting at the Bishopsgate Institute voted to set up the East End Trades Guild to lobby local authorities for more low-cost trading zones and to campaign for fairer commercial rents.

They fear encroachment from the big chains will drive small traders under who have been providing “social space, contact between neighbours and making streets safer.”

The new guild expects to attract at least 200 businesses in Spitalfields, Whitechapel and Shoreditch at its first assembly in September to be held at Christ Church in Commercial Street, backed by the London Citizens’ network of community organisations.

The traders say ‘localism’ principles have been ignored or exploited by landlords, big business and even the government.