Gareth Wilson

Liberal Democrat Campaigner for Haddenham & Aldreth Learn more

Ely’s Saturday Markets could be at risk

by Gareth Wilson on 6 August, 2010

Ely’s Saturday Markets could be at risk after the Tories agreed a 58 per cent increase in charges.

Traders will have to pay £10 more plus VAT a week for their market pitches and stalls after the Tories agreed the rise.

The increase along with other savings will bring in an extra £47,000 for the council on top of the £20,000 profit last year.

The money is to pay for the erection and dismantling of market stalls at the Saturday collectibles and farmers’ markets. Traders at the Thursday markets bring their own stalls.

Lib Dems fear the extra charges, which could be brought in this autumn, will drive traders away and could even put the future of the markets at risk.

Councillor Gareth Wilson said: “This is ridiculous. Imposing a £10 plus VAT increase on market traders could drive them away from Ely.

“The council budgeted to save £31,000 on the market. But the increase that has been agreed gives us £16,000 more than we need. The Tories see the market as an easy hit.”

Cllr Wilson proposed a rise of just £5 plus VAT at East Cambridgeshire District Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on Tuesday which would still see a saving of £39,500. But the Tories rejected the move even though it had the full backing of traders.

“They have agreed an enormous rise which charges traders up to 58 per cent more a week,” said Cllr Wilson. “How can they justify such a crippling amount?

The move is the latest in a long running saga involving Ely markets after the council’s original decision to no longer provide stalls along with pitches.

Traders fought the decision and the council agreed that it will continue to provide stalls for the Saturday markets but make a charge to erect and dismantle them.

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