Sheffield trading standards unit debts are revealed

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DETAILS have been revealed of money owed by three councils over the collapse of the old South Yorkshire Trading Standards Unit.

Some £14 million of debt was accrued through mismanagement at the unit, run by Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster councils.

Sheffield has covered the cost but has been told by the District Auditor to collect contributions from the other authorities by the end of the current financial year - and use legal action if necessary.

Some £7.9m is outstanding - £3m from Doncaster, £2.6m from Rotherham and £2.3m from Barnsley.

Opposition councillors in Sheffield have also called for the authority’s Labour leadership to ensure the sums are collected as soon as possible.

Coun Simon Clement-Jones, Liberal Democrat finance spokesman, said: “Labour councillors like to talk a lot about ‘standing up for Sheffield’ but when it comes to other Labour councils in our region, their ferocious roar becomes a timid squeak.

“These uncollected millions could help to protect children’s centres or libraries – if only the council was willing to get tough on Labour pals across South Yorkshire.

“It’s about time Labour stopped talking about ‘standing up for Sheffield’ and got on with the job.”

Coun Bryan Lodge said the council expects to be repaid by the end of March, and that the money has been budgeted for in calculations for the current financial year.