Market traders face service charge hike of more than 26%

Traders at Moor Market, in Sheffield city centre, are facing a substantial rise in service charges thanks to inflation and surging energy costs.

Proposed plans to increase these charges will be considered by Sheffield City councillors next week.

Service charges paid by traders to the council to cover building running costs such as electricity, gas, water, cleaning, security, maintenance, and support costs haven’t been increased for 10 years.

It means that as inflation and worldwide energy tariffs have pushed prices higher the council says it has not been recovering its costs at the market. In 2020/21 that amounted to just under £500,000, with the council recovering just over 65% of its costs.

The council’s Waste and Street Scene Committee will be asked to approve a recommendation to increase the current service charge to the midpoint between current charge and full cost recovery. If approved, the increase would not take place for 12 weeks.

This would see service charges increase by 26.5% in 2024/25 for traders.

Committee chairman, Councillor Joe Otten, said: “It will be a matter of judgement for committee members to strike a balance between recovering costs and supporting traders.

“From the discussions we’ve had with traders we know they are already feeling the impact of increased energy and other price rises in goods and services.

“The council highly values the Moor Market and its important role in providing goods and services at reasonable prices for our residents.

“Occupancy rates there are currently 9% higher than the national average and we want to see those levels rise. We want to continue to see a sustainable and thriving Moor Market.”