The Daily Mail reports this morning that councils failing to provide weekly bin collections will lose central Government funding. The Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, says that the Weekly Collection Support Scheme has "stopped the rot" in the decline of weekly collections – half a dozen councils have restored them.
However he has decided a stronger financial nudge is needed to nsure this basic service is available. The funding formula will be changed over time so councils no longer have a financial interest in cutting this service – although it is recognised that some are tied into existing contracts.
Mr Pickles says:
'It was Disraeli’s Public Health Act 1875 which introduced a duty on local authorities to collect rubbish'
This was enhanced by the Conservative-led Government’s Public Health Act 1936, obliging councils to collect household waste weekly.
Then, in a 2001 Whitehall restructuring, Tony Blair split waste policy away from local government services – and cuts to services began.
For all of Labour’s talk on human rights, I believe it’s a fundamental right for every Englishman and woman to be able to put the remnants of their chicken tikka masala in their bin without having to wait two weeks for it to be collected.
Despite the need to tackle Labour’s deficit, councils across England this year will still be spending £114billion – roughly £5,000 per household.
I will be asking why councils can’t provide a weekly collection in return for their central government funding."
Why should councils receive funding for bin collections through central government Formula Grant when they are not providing a proper service? Under Labour, council tax doubled and bin collections halved. Quangos pushed councils to abandon weekly collections. It's all very well for the rich with large shed in their gardens but for those in more cramped conditions the quality of life is diminished.
Rather than causing the rubbish to pile up as a means of punishing people for not recycling a better way to achieve this is through new technology and reward schemes.
41 of the schemes funded by the Weekly Collection Support Scheme involve genuine rewards for recycling.
Credit also is due to Owen Paterson, the new Environment Secretary, for supporting this initiative. Mr Paterson has shown strong leadership in taking on the vested interests and left wing ideologues in his Department.