Sunday, September 14, 2008

Beginning Of The End For Garden Tax

On Friday I attended a Council meeting in order to make recommendations to the ruling Executive about the changes to waste collection. I'm glad to say that as predicted, belated commonsense prevailed.

The headline points of the proposed changes are:-
  • To retain all changes to waste collection except the £35 charge.
  • To end the £35 charging scheme at the end of October.
  • To refund £21 per bag (a pro rata figure) to those who had bought bags.
  • To collect garden waste fortnightly but with a limit of two 120-litre plastic sacks or three 75-litre jute sacks in November and December.
  • To introduce a free fortnightly collection from April to December each year with the above restrictions, although more can be collected at a charge of £1 per bag.
  • Continue to stress the value of home composting.

The changes are welcome but at considerable cost both financially and to the reputation of the council. Around £176,000 has been spent introducing and now scrapping the charge. It was confirmed that the raw data from the consultation and the draft report from officers was available to the LibDems and the two MPs for their meeting last Friday. We first saw the report and data on Wednesday lunchtime leaving little time to digest a 50 report document and a further 50 pages of background information. When this was queried on Wednesday, we were told that the actual report was only 10 pages long with supporting data making up the remainder and surely 48 hours was enough. I'm afraid that it is this scant regard to examining an issue in its entirety that has led us to this costly position in the first place. Anything more than a cursory glance behind the headline position would have pointed out that this unpopular charge would be ineffective and infuriate residents.

The final decision will be taken at a meeting of the Council Executive on September 23rd at 10am.

3 comments:

scott nugent said...

excellent news Paul!

are the council executive members likely to accept these recommendations? Or will they try and ditch it?or maybe find another way to squeeze the taxpayers?

this has gotta be pretty embrassing for them!!
bravo
scotty

Alex R said...

Paul,

Great news and well done. The Conservatives have shown the leadership and direction on this issue, vigorously opposing this unpopular policy from the beginning.

I'm quite astonished that Paul Burstow and Tom Brake have now come out against these charges. What has taken them so long? Far be it from me to suggest political motivations, but I must agree with your astute analysis of their positioning from a previous thread.

The Lib Dems really are bereft of ideas and somewhat paradoxically mirror the Labour Government. It is only so long before the next policy disaster!

Getting On With The Job said...

I have received a Lib Dem leaflet (in green - what no orange?) congratulating themselves and their MPs on this "good news change" to garden waste collections.

There is also a tear-off slip to allow me to sign their petition to protect back gardens, which they have been "fighting hard to protect from property developers". How long have they been in charge of the council?

I feel the urge to return their petition to:
Paul Burstow
FREEPOST 312
High St
Sutton
SM1 1BR
..and may also include some pizza delivery leaflets and American Express card application forms for good measure.