Leader comment: Garden waste charges may be just the start

BINS: Council wants to charge �25 a year for garden waste pick-ups
BINS: Council wants to charge �25 a year for garden waste pick-ups
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IT has become a cliche to say the city is facing tough choices on spending.

But that is undoubtedly true when our underfunded social care system is in crisis and everything from schools to street cleaning is feeling the pinch.

That is the context in which the city council is proposing a £25 a year charge for collecting garden waste. That will prove hugely unpopular with householders already paying average council tax bills of more than £1600.

Few will argue against the principle of charging for certain non-essential services in order to protect core ones - such as social care and schools - although they will certainly demand more efficiency savings first.

And, on that basis, you can bet your bottom dollar that more of these charges are in the pipeline.

Why for instance should someone who is getting their house extended be subsidised by other council tax payers? That is effectively what is happening under the current charging system.

A charge for garden waste, however, might be one that proves counterproductive. How much of the uncollected grass cuttings will go straight into landfill bins - ultimately costing the council money - or get flytipped?