Market rates rise will ‘hit traders hard’

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SOUTH Yorkshire Federation of Small Businesses has slammed Sheffield Council’s decision to abandon a temporary 40 per cent cut in market rates, introduced to help tenants at Castle Market.

The decision to remove the subsidy, which was meant to tide traders over until the new market is built on The Moor, was made to help the authority cope with an £84 million cut to its budget in 2011/12.

But Andrew Flower, chair of the FSB’s South Yorkshire Branch, said: “In times of budget reductions, hiking up the rents charged to stallholders looks an easy option but it is not a good deal for Sheffield ratepayers. Hit by a rise of 40 per cent in rents, many stallholders will decide to call it a day.

“Others will reduce the number of stalls they rent which will have the effect of driving down stall lettings.”

He said: “In recent times the council has done a good job in bringing back a vibrancy to Sheffield’s markets.

“Lettings in the markets stand at 70 per cent which, in view of competition from the supermarkets, is some achievement. But we would definitely urge the council to think again if it wishes to retain its reputation as being business-friendly.”