Councils can return to weekly bin collections

September 30, 2011 5:06 PM

Yesterday the Coalition announced it is to provide £250 million to enable local authorities across the UK to switch back to weekly bin collections. In June I wrote about our disappointment that the Conservatives had backtracked on their manifesto pledge to end to fortnightly collections. However, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles yesterday made the offer councils will hopefully find impossible to refuse.

Council tax has almost doubled over the last decade and for many the most valued and visible service in return is waste collection. While councils across the country reassess their priorities after reductions in their central government grants, many are reluctant to return to weekly collections. But we regularly publish stories and produce research that shows there are savings to be made in council budgets.

While it is not ideal that the Government felt forced to bribe councils to provide the weekly service, as with the council tax freeze introduced earlier this year, it is often the only tool Ministers have. But this decision places power back in the hands of local residents. Councils will find it difficult to go against their will.

There will be some who claim that offering an incentive to local authorities goes against the localism agenda. Firstly, the offer is optional. The councils that genuinely believe a weekly collection is what their residents want but who find it financially prohibitive have the funds available, those who strongly believe in fortnightly collections can refuse. Secondly, the eye-watering landfill taxes councils frequently moan about emanate from the European Union, the very anathema of localism. Meddling from the EU in council affairs severely restrict the service they can provide residents. If councils want more power, they should first tell the Government to stop accepting diktats from Brussels.

Offering his immediate reaction to the news, our Chief Executive Matthew Elliott said:

“Weekly bin collections are the number one service which council taxpayers expect to receive from their local authorities, so it is terrific to hear that councils will no longer have any excuse not to provide this to every resident in their area.  Rubbish collection may not be seen as a sexy issue to the chattering classes in London, but it is one which is of great concern to ordinary hardworking taxpayers. It’s good to see a manifesto promise delivered despite the difficult financial times we live in. Woe betide the councils who do not reinstate weekly bin collections or who persist with plans to scrap this basic service, causing misery to local residents.”


Meanwhile our Campaign Director, Emma Boon, was on Sky News discussing the announcement:

[iframe http://www.youtube.com/embed/or1YZWj3xsU 500 284]Yesterday the Coalition announced it is to provide £250 million to enable local authorities across the UK to switch back to weekly bin collections. In June I wrote about our disappointment that the Conservatives had backtracked on their manifesto pledge to end to fortnightly collections. However, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles yesterday made the offer councils will hopefully find impossible to refuse.

Council tax has almost doubled over the last decade and for many the most valued and visible service in return is waste collection. While councils across the country reassess their priorities after reductions in their central government grants, many are reluctant to return to weekly collections. But we regularly publish stories and produce research that shows there are savings to be made in council budgets.

While it is not ideal that the Government felt forced to bribe councils to provide the weekly service, as with the council tax freeze introduced earlier this year, it is often the only tool Ministers have. But this decision places power back in the hands of local residents. Councils will find it difficult to go against their will.

There will be some who claim that offering an incentive to local authorities goes against the localism agenda. Firstly, the offer is optional. The councils that genuinely believe a weekly collection is what their residents want but who find it financially prohibitive have the funds available, those who strongly believe in fortnightly collections can refuse. Secondly, the eye-watering landfill taxes councils frequently moan about emanate from the European Union, the very anathema of localism. Meddling from the EU in council affairs severely restrict the service they can provide residents. If councils want more power, they should first tell the Government to stop accepting diktats from Brussels.

Offering his immediate reaction to the news, our Chief Executive Matthew Elliott said:

“Weekly bin collections are the number one service which council taxpayers expect to receive from their local authorities, so it is terrific to hear that councils will no longer have any excuse not to provide this to every resident in their area.  Rubbish collection may not be seen as a sexy issue to the chattering classes in London, but it is one which is of great concern to ordinary hardworking taxpayers. It’s good to see a manifesto promise delivered despite the difficult financial times we live in. Woe betide the councils who do not reinstate weekly bin collections or who persist with plans to scrap this basic service, causing misery to local residents.”


Meanwhile our Campaign Director, Emma Boon, was on Sky News discussing the announcement:

[iframe http://www.youtube.com/embed/or1YZWj3xsU 500 284]

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