April 28, 2007

Elections are Rubbish

Is the biggest talking point of this week’s local elections (in England, at least) rubbish? The newspapers, at least, are fuming about fortnightly collections and snooping wheelie-bins. Believe the hype, and it alone could bring down many Councils.

In some European countries, bins are collected daily or every other day. So why are we going in the opposite direction?

Because a) it’s environmentally friendlier and b) we don’t (yet) have temperatures that make festering rubbish such a problem.

Oh, and c) it’s cheaper. Local councils have been squeezed and squeezed for well over twenty years, and the only thing they can do is cut services or put up council tax.

Put the typical Daily Mail reader in a local council and ask them what they’d do. Given the limitations on how councils can spend their money, is there actually anything they could do better? Independent councillors and UKIP say they’d increase rubbish collections. They are in the lucky(!) position of not having to carry out their promise.

Grumpy Joe Public hate only a few things more than fortnightly rubbish collections: higher council tax is definitely one of them. What they forget to realise is you have to have one or the other.

But once tabloid newspapers find a bandwagon, common sense becomes irrelevant.

- 9 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

[Skip to the latest comment]
  1. paul

    Welcome back doidge. Thought you’d died or something.

    28 Apr 2007, 17:41

  2. yea i remember you saying you blogged, like, 5 times a day. term 3 taking her toll?

    28 Apr 2007, 18:55

  3. The issue, as you fleetingly acknowledge, is the way that national government is demanding more and more of local councils to an extent that is out of all proportion to any extra funding awarded. I can understand why Labour-dominated councils don’t publicise this, but why all others are not shouting it at every opportunity I just don’t understand.

    Then again, politicised funding priorities (such as the leaked memos showing that ministers were pressurising civil servant to close hospitals in opposition or even Labour strongholds, in preference to doing so in marginal constituencies) probably show that a council can expect less government co-operation if it blames New Labour policy for its own reductions in services.

    Incidentally, the Treasury took something of the order of £750m* last year from local councils in landfill tax, the rate of which is on an annual escalator. This probably helps explain why rubbish collection, one of the core duties of any local authority, is being prioritised for cuts by seemingly most councils in Britain.

    * I must admit this figure came via my parents from the Daily Mail and I haven’t tried to check it elsewhere.

    28 Apr 2007, 19:29

  4. Yeah well, I’m stuck in Gloucestershire with the Daily Mail as my only real material for blogging – not exactly inspirational…

    28 Apr 2007, 19:42

  5. Jimmy Buckland

    We wait two weeks for a Chris Doidge blog and then… this?

    29 Apr 2007, 16:43

  6. There’s no pleasing some people, is there?

    30 Apr 2007, 11:55

  7. Scott Redding

    I think the real issue isn’t weekly or twice weekly collections, but lower charges for those who aim for zero waste.

    In Belgium, the charge for “disposing of rubbish” of their council tax is separate, and set at, say, £56. On top of that, you pay variable charges based on the weight and volume of rubbish for collection. The BBC says that “for the keenest recyclers, the total final bill for the year including the fixed charge can be as little as £70 … For those who don’t control their amount of waste, it can climb to nearly £180.”

    Councils even encourage folks to buy chickens for their backyard to eat leftover kitchen scraps.

    Less bins, more poultry!

    30 Apr 2007, 15:58

  8. Less bins, more poultry!

    Make chicks not war?

    30 Apr 2007, 19:25

  9. Make chicks not war?


    01 May 2007, 13:56

Add a comment

You are not allowed to comment on this entry as it has restricted commenting permissions.

Twitter Go to 'Twitter / chrisdoidge'

Tetbury Online

Most recent comments

  • To quote from PM Cameron's speech at Munich Security Conference on the failure of State Multicultura… by on this entry
  • Not sure whether their installation can do that (though I assume it will), but I personally have a D… by Pierre on this entry
  • Yup. The figure at the end I guess isn't so much a sign of falling standards, as failing policy. by on this entry
  • Didn't the compulsory GCSE in a language get ditched a few years back? by on this entry
  • Yeah, that was a Brown–like kiss of death. by on this entry

Search this blog

Blog archive



April 2007

Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
Mar |  Today  | May
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Not signed in
Sign in

Powered by BlogBuilder