£600k cost of market rent help

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A DECISION to partially reinstate a rent discount for traders on Castle Market until new premises are ready will cost Sheffield Council £632,000.

The figure was revealed in a report to councillors and has been criticised by opposition Lib Dems, who had scrapped the discount completely in the Spring.

It was restored, at 30 per cent rather than the original 40 per cent, by Labour until the new Moor market building is ready.

Stallholders say the dilapidated condition of Castle Market is putting off trade.

To help pay for the restored discount, the council has used £240,000 from its Economic Fighting Fund, money normally reserved to help create new jobs.

An additional £384,000 will be cut from other unspecified services to make up the rest of the funding.

Coun Bryan Lodge, deputy council leader, said: “I believe a city the size of Sheffield should have a good quality market.

“Traders warned the Lib Dems that the funding settlement allocated in their budget would force many traders to go out of business, threatening the future of the market and the 600 people who work there.

“In April, 14,760 local people signed a petition objecting to the settlement, highlighting the level of public support for the market and the desire of Sheffield people to retain the market.”

But Coun Simon Clement-Jones, Lib Dem finance spokesman, claimed: “Many local people will be scratching their heads at this decision wondering why, at a time when money is extremely short, Labour have agreed this £632,000 special discount.”