Labour group leader blasts “outrageous” move to give go-ahead for brown bin charges in Lichfield and Burntwood

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.

Cllr Sue Woodward

Cllr Sue Woodward

“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.”

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12 Comments

  1. Steven Nornan

    19th April, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Yes, the District Council’s youngest member did ask that question and, on this particular ocassion, even stayed to the end of the meeting!

    Of course the Cabinet did not have to change their policy after this third opportunity for the Conservative “backbenchers” to wake up to the proposal. Now the Cabinet only have £2 million worth of savings (cuts of course) imposed by the government they support and will no doubt be campaigning for in the next few weeks.

  2. Toast

    19th April, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Only one thing for it: if you disagree with the Brown Bin Tax, vote for another party.

    Now’s our chance for change, “Let’s make Lichfield great again!”

  3. Scott

    19th April, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Let’s look on the bright side, if we empty Chasewater again we’d have a lovely pit for all of our garden waste. Maybe even expand it over the greenbelt to preserve its nature.

  4. Philip John

    19th April, 2017 at 11:18 am

    At one point I wondered if anyone other than Sue was going to bother speaking up last night! Well done Sue for making a lot of valid criticisms of the decision and questioning why this charge is even needed.

    Others did eventually but asking “how do the stickers adhere to the bins?” isn’t quite what is meant by scrutiny.

    The motivation for this charge, so everyone is clear, was that Staffordshire County Council were going to stop paying “recycling credits” to Lichfield District Council. However, Staffs are no longer planning to do that so there is no necessity behind introducing this charge.

    Cllr Eadie explained that Staffs might, possibly, maybe try to stop paying that money to LDC but that seems like a pretty weak basis on which to introduce a stealth tax to residents of Lichfield and Tamworth. The cynic in me wonders whether this gives Staffordshire County Council the ammunition they need to re-introduce the proposal to cut the recycling credits.

    As it stands, LDC are now going to turn a free service into a paid-for service which, as their own figures confirm, will make them a nice little profit. They will simultaneously be receiving cash from Staffordshire County Council to cover the same service. Extra profit!

    Cllr Tranter pointed this out to Cllr Eadie who acknowledge that would be the case, and the money would (if I remember correctly) go into the reserves.

    I guess when you vote for Conservatives to run a council “like a business” it’s to be expected that public services get turned into profit centres.

  5. Eric.N.Drinkwater

    19th April, 2017 at 11:43 am

    No doubt about it the Tories do not give a damn about the people they represent i.e.The Tax payer. However the public have two chances coming up to tell them emphatically what they think. Get rid of them from the County Council on May 4th and give them a bloody nose in the General Election on June 8th

  6. Toast

    19th April, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Holy moly, nice work Phil. Confirms pretty much what we were thinking; that LDC are trying to make a quick buck off tax payers with minimal fuss (i.e. triggering a referendum over tax increases)

  7. Chris

    19th April, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I’m lucky, I live very close to a Tory Councillor so it will be easy for me to get rid of my garden waste once the brown bin goes back.

  8. Adam Elsdon

    20th April, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Much has been mentioned about how charges for waste will result in Fly tipping, just yesterday in the car park of the Toby Carvery at Shenstone there was a big pile of building rubble old double glazing and broken glass dumped by a fly tipper.
    A nice business, with nice staff in a nice local village, directly affected by the decisions of Lichfield District Councillors that can only see the bottom line, maybe Councillor Eadie would like to visit the business affected himself, apologise and organise to have it removed.

  9. Sue Woodward

    21st April, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Keep up, Adam. That would be the result of the Tory Tip Tax, the County Council’s charge for the disposal of DIY waste. Not this extra Bin Tax. As a County Council candidate, you really should do some homework.

  10. Adam Elsdon

    21st April, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    I did say “Charges for waste” not Bin Tax, and the “which council” distinction is often lost amongst voters. I am pretty certain that the business affected by its car park full of rubbish does not care if it was a Tory or Labour tip tax, but you are a County Councillor and “Tory Tip Tax” happened on your watch but dont you worry, I will soon get up to speed.

  11. Ken

    21st April, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    And there, in a single comment, Cllr Woodward shows why any kind of anti-Tory alliance (mooted by others in comments elsewhere on this site) won’t happen on her watch.

    You just can’t resist having a pop, can you Sue? Never mind that the Tories on both the District and County councils have the numbers to literally do whatever the hell they like whilst laughing at the lot of us – make sure you score a cheap point against a fellow candidate who is, in reality, on the same side of the fight as you.

    The only person who needs to “keep up” is you, Sue. The two-party glory days of Red versus Blue are ancient history. Ditch the tribal posturing, get off your high horse and try doing something contructive that might actually stop the Tories before they destroy everything.

  12. Cearbhaill

    21st April, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Okay, party politics aside for a minute, I reflect on the amount of Council Tax that I already have to pay out every month( almost like a second mortgage) on my extremely modest and frankly austere property and contemplate the small garden that I maintain and the little amount of garden waste that it produces and there is no way that I will be paying an extra £36 a year.
    Now let me be honest here, what I shall do is to put the waste in a black plastic bag and stuff it in the black bin with a sense of mischievous satisfaction.

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