The Green Bin Service, Its not voluntary after all, we ALL pay for it!
Gloucester

Image by R~P~M via Flickr

The commentary coming out of the Tory City council has taken a bizarre twist. It has come to light that the Green Bin Service is not a service that could not be paid for in the Council tax after all, indeed we are all paying for it, even though around 70,000 residents in Gloucester are not signed up to it.

We were told before the budget that the Green Bin service was not affordable and it was going to have to be a subscription service.  Each household would pay £36 for 12 months service (though a special start-up offer gave 18 months for the price of 12).  The council made a big deal of having more sign ups than they anticipated, in that they based their figures were on 9,000 people taking it up, but instead they got around 11,000.  I have to admit that when this came to light, I was one to jump on the band wagon and highlight that this had turned into a profit-making venture and that was a poor show for the tax payer.

However, I have to admit my mistake.  It has come out in the Quedgeley News, in an article by Councillor Deb Llewellyn (Conservative), that there has been no profits at all made because the service actually costs much more than we were led to believe.  She has laid bare the reckless plans of Cllr Steve Morgan and how their financial management of our tax money is a shambles.

To Highlight the case, we were told that this was going to be an opt in service, at £36 per household.  Their anticipated take up rate was about 9000.  We assume that the Councillor in charge, Steve Morgan has some competence here and that they had set the price and target to cover the costs and therefore the cost of the service to the city works out to be £324,000.

They actually have achieved 11000 take up, therefore have taken a revenue of just under £400,000.  Which shows an excess of around £75,000.

But it seems we have been misled.  The cost of the service to the City has not been calculated as an opt in service, as the actual cost to the City is £740,000.

That means that the Tory Council aimed to use our Tax Money to subsidise a service to the tune of £416000.

If they had made it a proper opt in service, using their ambitious take up rate of 9000, the service should have been priced at £82.22 per annum.  Even at the 11k take up rate, it could have cost £67.27 per annum.

So what does this mean really?  It means that this service which was billed as a “new opt in service” is nothing of the sort.  We are all paying for the few to have a Green bin Service.  Those in Gloucester who are hardest hit by the cuts already are having to pay for those who can afford the £36 to have the Green Bin service.  If they had just levied another £8 per year or 96 pence per month, then we could have ALL had the Green Bin service and not just those who could afford, or felt coerced into it.

I don’t know about you, but I feel ripped off!

 

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3 Comments so far:

  1. Richard Bard says:

    One question, you said “this had turned into a profit-making venture and that was a poor show for the tax payer.”
    Why is the council running a profit making venture bad? If they make a profit (from people who can afford it) that’s better services or lower taxes for everyone. I know it’s academic because it didn’t make a profit!

    Reference anticipated take up & projected costs: usually both educated guesses. That applies to councils & the private sector.

  2. Barry says:

    Richard, if it was a true “opt in” service, IE self financing, then I don’t think it would be as bad, but as a lot of the cost is being met by the tax payer, but not many of the tax payers are seeing the benefit of the service.

    In my mind, we pay the council to provide public services, not to make money. In that sense, they are not really making a profit, but bankrolling our cash, when what they could do is adjust the pricing policy to enable more people to benefit from the service rather than just a select view.

  3. Barry says:

    And yes your right about projected take up etc, but the point I was getting to was that of a population of 90,000 they only anticipated a 10% take up, and have achieved not much more that that. The projected costs were made on those figures so it highlights that they fully intended such a subsidisation by all the tax payers.

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