More stealth taxes - councils start charging those with gardens
It was only a matter of time really. With all the hoo-ha over certain Councils deciding to cut weekly bin collections to fortnightly, in a way it is surprising it took so long for garden waste to become a cost-cutting target.
You see, you may not have been aware of this, but you actually have a statutory right to have your household rubbish collected by the Council, but no similar provision applies to green, or garden waste. This means it is entirely at the discretion of individual Councils whether or not they want to charge you for the privilege.
This means there is now (another) postcode lottery, although this one isn’t for cancer drugs or alzheimer’s treatment, this is for whether you have to shell out up to £65 a year to have your green stuff disposed of. In Oxford, Gloucester, Nottinghamshire and London there have been actual protests after residents received letters informing them of the new charges of around £30 a year. That’s £2.50 a month.
However disgruntled residents have described the move as a ‘stealth bin tax’. Telegraph interviewee Julie Lee, from Gloucester, resented the extra cost. "We think it's totally wrong. We pay enough money in council tax already, it should still be free,” she argued eloquently.
Whether or not you agree with paying £2.50 a month for something that would cost you far more to dispose of yourself or not, unless you decide to go for the compost route, and in not charging those who don’t have a garden for something they don’t use, there is another interesting issue in Gloucestershire.
Gloucester City Council has introduced a charge of £36 per annum for green waste removal and has already raised £460,000 from residents. This leaves the Council in a bit of an awkward position - the charge was apparently set at a rate to ‘break even’ and merely cover the costs of collection, disposal and administration. However, official figures show that the service will cost around £650,000 to provide the service for three years, so it looks like the Council are on course for substantial profits. Worse, figures reported today show that Gloucester Council actually underspent (for the second year running) last year by a whopping £435,000, rendering the green bin charge completely unnecessary and adding piles of weight to the ‘this is just a stealth tax’ argument...