In this time of austerity, and the Conservative lead Government telling us we are “all in this together” and that there is no money for fundamental pillars of society such as the Justice System, the NHS, Schools and community based projects, it seems that Eric Pickles is sick of having to wait for his rubbish to be collected and has “magically found” £250m to “encourage” councils to return to weekly (Black bin) rubbish collections.
This smacks in the face of the hard work being done by local authorities to encourage people to recycle more and to reduce the waste going to landfill. Many people have had a tough transition in getting used to fortnightly rubbish collections but have changed their lives accordingly and I think many people have done it very successfully. So this would be very much a backward step for the local councils and for the environment.
So what else, what could you do with £250m? Here is a short list off the top of my head:
- Continue Sure Start and the Maternity Grant
- Not cutting our defence forces so deep
- Not cutting essential social services
- Not cutting the Legal aid budget so deep
- More grants for Community Projects
- More funding for Adult care
- Funding for Youth Provisions
- Better provision for Libraries
And at a more local level:
- Restoration of the Green Bin Service in Gloucester
- A new railway Station for Quedgeley
How does this affect the plans for the incinerator at Javelin Park, this will make the amount of rubbish go up and therefore makes the planning assumptions a shaky basis for decision making. The ramifications could be quite long reaching for our local councils!
Will £250m be enough to sustain the service for the full contract period that each council has with its contractor? I would put good money it won’t as many contracts are for 5 years, therefore this £250m is really £50m a year for the entire country!
Eric Pickles calls this weekly collection a “Basic Right”, but what of a basic right for good access to justice, a basic right for access to the Health System. I think he should stop looking at his priorities, but the priorities of the population.