South Gloucestershire taxpayers are being given mixed messages by their council—and it is set to cost them £1.2m across the district. The council wants them to recycle their garden waste but wants to charge them £56 a year for picking it up.
In a surprising move, South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) is keen to charge local residents £36 to pick up their green bins and a further £20 for a bundle of ten recycling sacks.
‘Residents feel like they are being ambushed into accepting an annual charge which could be as high as £56,’ says an opposition councillor, ‘and which will cut the district’s recycling rate after many years of sustained improvement.’
‘Some people will instead use their black bins to dispose of their garden waste or fly-tip or burn the waste in their back yards,’ he warns.
Also, the residents of South Gloucestershire have already paid for rubbish removal services through their council tax—so why are they being asked to pay for it twice?
SGC says the proposal is the only way they can make cuts in their budget. ‘If the council ultimately chose not to charge for the green bin service,’ said a council spokesman, ‘then we’d have to implement cuts that could affect valued services such as libraries.’
It is a tired old chorus from local councils putting front line services on the line—saying it’s either more charges for its fundamental services or cuts to libraries. Instead, they should be thinking about cutting the cost of local government management—including their inflated wages and pensions.