The decision to go ahead with charges for brown bin collections has been branded “outrageous” by the leader of the Labour opposition group at Lichfield District Council.
The original decision to introduce a £36 charge per year for each garden waste bin had been called back in for further scrutiny at a meeting this evening (April 18) after concerns were raised over the impact of the move on some residents.
But the decision has now been approved meaning households will be forced to fork out if they want their brown bins collected.
Cllr Sue Woodward, leader of the Labour group, said the so-called bin tax had been introduced in the face of clear public opposition – and she questioned how the controlling Conservative group could justify the move while also approving a decision to continue providing the local authority’s chairman with a civic car.
“I’m disappointed that members voted for the decision to stand,” she said. “It seems from the outset of the discussion that members were only concerned about the public reaction against the bin tax rather than the principle.
“I pointed out that, in a public consultation undertaken by Lichfield District Council, over 85% said that they wanted this service to continue, but it seems that yet again the Conservatives at the council do not listen to residents.
“Although concerns were expressed about the impact on older and disabled people, and were taken on board to some extent, I wanted to reinforce the impact on the vast majority of residents, the ‘just about managing’ as they are called.
“It is outrageous that the public are being asked to pay these additional fees. It’s a stealth tax, pure and simple.”
Cllr Woodward claimed the meeting had highlighted the call-in as a “cynical move” to try and push back the decision until after the county council elections on May 4.
“Although the chairman emphasised the value of robust questioning, when one member puts a question about how the stickers identifying the households who have paid will stick to the bins, I can only hold my head in my hands.
“It undermines the value of the scrutiny process and reduces residents’ concerns to a joke.”