Allotment Charges Hyperinflation

Like many councils around the country, Sheffield City Council is making substantial cuts. Whether you blame Tories, bankers, or previous councils (or some combination of the above), the council’s finances are in pretty dire shape, and all sorts of services are being hit.

One of the cuts in Sheffield is ending the subsidy to the allotment service. The council provides about 3000 plots around the city. In 2012/13, that cost them about £300k, and they recouped something like 30% of that in charges. The remaining 70% was subsidy. By 2014/15, they’re aiming to remove that.

Rather than cut the cost of providing the service, the council has decided to achieve this by increasing charges. We’ve just had the bill from our council for our allotment for the coming year. It’s just about double what it was last year, and it’ll go up by about the same amount again next year.

2012/13 2013/14 2014/15
Charges Charges Increase from 2012/13 Charges Increase from 2012/13
Small £25.40 £50 97% £80 215%
Medium £37.90 £70 85% £112 196%
Large £52.60 £100 90% £160 204%

There’s been lots of grumbling from tenants, as you’d expect, and several people have said that they’ll give up their plots. Last time I checked, the waiting list on our site was down to four people, so there’s no eager crowd waiting to take over if we do lose tenants because of rent increases. Not long ago, our site was pretty much derelict, and there’s a real risk that the hard work that’s gone into bringing it back into use is now going to be undone.

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