Market traders defend hiking prices and explain why Christmas markets cost so much
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Market traders who have set out their stalls for the annual Christmas markets have spoken out in defence of their high prices.
It's hard not to feel festive as you walk around the wooden stalls bustling with all sorts of gifts and so many different types of food.
The Manchester Christmas markets are one of the largest and most famous in Europe, with the city's sprawling streets overtaken by festive stalls for weeks.
However, when the time comes to spend some money at the markets it's easy to look at the price tag and think you might just enjoy walking around them rather than actually buying anything.
People had been left absolutely 'fuming' at the high prices at the Manchester Christmas markets this year and complaining that they felt like they'd been 'ripped off' whenever they tried to buy something.
The main complaints have been over the huge prices charged for food and drink, with some shoppers saying they 'definitely won't be back this year'.
Others complained of 'overpriced beer and food', saying they didn't want to pay '£15 for two mugs of hot chocolate' along with 'no really Christmas stuff' on sale at the markets.
Traders who keep the markets going have defended their high prices, explaining that with the cost of everything going up their own costs have increased, meaning they have to put up prices in response.
The MEN spoke to Bram Dreijer, whose father runs the Dutch Mini Pancakes stall you can visit at the markets, and he explained that they have 'no choice but to raise the price.
He said: "I think everybody has noticed that a lot of things have increased during the last year. It’s no different for us.
"We buy some stock here in the UK and bring some from Holland, now with Brexit it has become more expensive in both countries.
"And because of Brexit there has been a lot of extra costs for us to bring the stuff over, like the Christmas sheds, people, stock, visas and the like."
Dreijer explained that at last year's markets they actually made a loss on the trip over from the Netherlands and put their prices up as they couldn't afford to do so for a second year in a running.
Traders are not running stalls at the Christmas markets just to be part of the festive atmosphere, they need to make money from their venture otherwise it's quite literally not worth it.
Market trader Peter Wilson told us one of the big reasons why prices were going up was because 'rents are so ridiculously high'.
He said: "I did a four day Christmas market, opening times 10am - 9pm and ended up making £150. Won't be doing another one, I can make more money at my local market."
Pat Karney, the Christmas markets spokesperson for Manchester City Council, said he understood 'not everyone has the cash to splash out on a hot chocolate or Gluhwein', so this year 'isn't just about the markets'.
He said: "The city centre is at its sparkling best at the moment with our famous big Santa in St Peter's Square and a fabulous Christmas lights trail that includes walk-through baubles and stars, Christmas trees, and a twinkling Manchester bee – all of which are free to discover and enjoy.
"We've also got a fantastic programme of free fun for families each weekend between now and Christmas with a series of magical Festive Sundays funded in partnership with city centre business partners, and, in a festive first for the city, the first ever Manchester Christmas Parade which is coming up on Sunday, December 11."