Kirkgate Market latest: A SAFE PAIR OF HANDS?! NOT IF YOU’RE ON A LOW INCOME!
THE LEAD councillor in charge of changes to Kirkgate Market has shown his true colours by dismissing calls to slow down plans which could see existing customers and traders priced out of the market.
Coun Richard Lewis, let slip his irritation at FOLKM’s ongoing demands for a commitment to protect the market as a diverse place where everyone, no matter what their income, can afford to shop. In response to our questions about how the proposed redevelopment would impact on those who rely on the market most, he blurted out:
I don’t like this endless referencing to low income people.
We’re not sure whether it’s low income people he doesn’t like or just people talking about them! This isn’t the first time we’ve heard one of these outbursts from the Councillor who takes home a comfortable £37,273.96. At an Executive Board meeting last year he grandly claimed that:
The poor of Leeds have abandoned the market
Once again, we have to admit we’re not exactly sure what he means by this, or what evidence he is basing it on.
What we do know, and what Coun Lewis, who is in charge of Development and the Economy, should know if he was doing his job properly is that 20% of the population of Leeds live in some of the most deprived areas in England. These include many of the inner city areas surrounding the market and that these are also the areas where the majority of market shoppers come from.
Every time the council make big changes they have a legal responsibility to identify if these changes will create disadvantage to particular groups and to ensure that this is limited. Not sure where this fits with Coun Lewis’s views on the population of Leeds.