LUSU is charging local businesses £1k for a stall at the Freshers’ Fair

Business owner branded the price ‘ridiculous’

Lancaster University Students’ Union are charging a £1000 fee for stalls at this year’s Freshers’ Fair.

The Students’ Union justified the increased price because they wanted to standardise the pricing for all vendors and believe the 2021 Freshers’ Fair will have the highest footfall they’ve ever had, taking place in the sports halls.

Local businessman Patrick Hall, Owner of Tipple, thinks it’s “ridiculous” that the fee is standardised and not discounted for small local businesses like it used to be.

Patrick said that after attending the Freshers’ Fair for many years, he has now been charged £1000 for a stall whereas the cost for a stall in 2019 was almost half at £550.

Patrick said he didn’t agree with the SU’s reasons for the new cost for a stall. He said the tiered pricing for a stall was to support smaller, local businesses. Patrick said: “This flat fee system does not allow for any support for local businesses. This means that a small local business like my own that has struggled for survival through the Covid-19 pandemic would be charged the same as huge international companies like Dominos or Spotify.”

Patrick also expressed how the expected larger footfall doesn’t warrant the higher cost. He said: “This new format of combining the two events is untested and to claim that it is going to be better for businesses without any testing is ridiculous. What evidence do LUSU have that this new much larger event is actually going to be better for engagement with stalls?”

A Students’ Union spokesperson said: “Over the last few years, prices charged for the Freshers’ Fair and other events have been charged on a case-by-case basis, and to remain fair we have introduced a simpler pricing structure, which falls in line with other students’ unions across the country. Whilst this may cause frustrations with some businesses, this ensures that prices are fair and justified for all.

“We are more than happy to discuss prices and stall options with individual parties, to ensure that their brand is fairly represented, and to ensure that local businesses have an opportunity to present their brand in front of the thousands of students who attend our events.

“As a partner of Lancaster BID, we value the relationships we hold with local businesses within the area, and are committed to supporting their recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Freshers’ Fair at Lancaster University Students’ Union will be the biggest event of this format that we have ever held, in terms of size and footfall, and we can’t wait to see our commercial partners and students over the coming weeks.”

Related articles recommended by this writer: