'We will be open over Chinese deal', says Sheffield Council

Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore signs a 60-year deal with Sichaun Guodong Construction Group.
Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore signs a 60-year deal with Sichaun Guodong Construction Group.
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Sheffield Council has pledged to be as transparent as possible over its multi-million pound deal with a Chinese company.

The council was responding to a plea by the opposition Liberal Democrat group to commit to being open with the city's residents about the 60-year contract with Sichaun Guodong Construction Group, signed in July.

Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore signs a 60-year deal with Sichaun Guodong Construction Group.

Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore signs a 60-year deal with Sichaun Guodong Construction Group.

The Lib Dems said they welcomed the deal with the Chengdu-based firm, but also urged the council to reassure other investors they would not be treated differently.

Read more:

Chinese firm to invest hundreds of millions in Sheffield as council signs 60-year deal
Council leader Julie Dore called the Chinese deal 'ground breaking' and 'fantastic news for our city'. She added: "We are being fully open and transparent about the deal we have made with Sichaun Guodong Construction Group.

"But as anyone who has secured private investment on this scale knows, the process is complex and it is important to get it right.

"We know the people of Sheffield are excited about this deal and what it will bring, and I would like to take this opportunity to assure them that as soon as we’re able to go public with more details, they will be the first to know."

Two motions proposed by the Lib Dems about the Chinese deal were voted down at a council meeting last week.

The group's spokesman for the economy Coun Martin Smith said: “We welcome the investment partnership with Sichaun Guodong Construction Group and believe it has the potential to make a huge difference in Sheffield, get projects off the ground and grow our city’s economy.

“It is the result of many years of hard work from both Labour groups and the previous Liberal Democrat administration, who sought out and signed the initial sister city agreement with Chengdu, the city in which the Sichaun Guodong Construction Group is based back in 2010.

“However, we are worried that Sheffield Labour won’t commit to being open and transparent with the opposition and public about this deal. If this really is the good news story for Sheffield that they say then they should have nothing to hide.

“Sheffield Labour also needs to reassure other potential investors that one company is not going to be treated preferentially in investment opportunities and assure the taxpayers of Sheffield that they are not going to loose out in this arrangement by land or buildings being sold below market price.”

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