Moves to halt green waste charge

This Is Wiltshire: Labour group attempt to dump controversial policy Labour group attempt to dump controversial policy

A LATE attempt to halt the introduction of the green waste charge is to go forward at Monday night’s council meeting.

The Labour group is to put forward an amendment saying the savings the charge is budgeted to make can be found elsewhere.

Residents are being asked to pay a fee of £40 to have their green waste collected, which will come into effect in April.

However, it was revealed the take-up of the scheme has been low, with thousands of bins still in storage waiting to be purchased.

It is hoped the changes will save the council £720,000 but Labour Group Leader Coun Jim Grant (Lab, Rodbourne Cheney) says there are cuts to be made elsewhere.

He says £250,000 can be saved with costs through changes at Forward Swindon, which will include moving the offices back onto council premises. On top of that £262,000 could be saved with cuts to the council’s communication department and a reduction in the use of consultants while another £75,000 can be saved by merging senior positions in the council.

Other cost savings will be found by reducing refreshments in the council and reducing the number of councillors in the cabinet.

Coun Grant said: “We don’t believe that it is right that the council’s consultants budget increases while the council starts charging residents for essential council services that should be universal.

“The Labour Group cannot promise to save every frontline service proposed to be cut next year by the Conservative administration and some might be disappointed that we have chosen to save this service rather than another service. But we have prioritised this service because it is the service residents have said to us they most value.

“These challenging times require a council prepared to stand up for hard-working residents and ensure they feel that their council is working for them. I believe the Labour budget amendment achieves that goal.“ The proposals have been dismissed by council leaders as an attempt to play politics over a sensitive issue. They also say no serious objections were raised as the scheme went through cabinet and while they may have budgeted for the £720,000, nothing has been said about the money already spent.

Coun Richard Hurley (Con, Covingham and Dorcan), the cabinet member for public protection, housing and streetsmart, said: “This is something which has gone through the council and the cabinet before it was agreed and I did not hear anything from Labour councillors about that.

“I feel this is just Labour being a bit mischievious. Many of their proposals would not be of a benefit to Swindon.

“For example, Forward Swindon does a lot to bring in business and investment into the town so it would make no sense to get rid of them.”

Comments (14)

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8:51am Sat 22 Feb 14

Oik1 says...

"For example, Forward Swindon does a lot to bring in business and investment into the town so it would make no sense to get rid of them.”

That's as maybe, but with approx £200,000 worth of our Council Tax at present sat wasted on green bins that nobody particularly wants, something, somewhere has to give.
The current waste of money cannot and must not be allowed to continue.
"For example, Forward Swindon does a lot to bring in business and investment into the town so it would make no sense to get rid of them.” That's as maybe, but with approx £200,000 worth of our Council Tax at present sat wasted on green bins that nobody particularly wants, something, somewhere has to give. The current waste of money cannot and must not be allowed to continue. Oik1

8:55am Sat 22 Feb 14

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

With the new facility to make RDF and SRF from household waste I was going to put my one bag a fortnight in the household waste and thus not feel guilty about not recycling it. A lot of others I know are planning to do the same.

If this new facility is as good as they claim we should be able to put everything in the household and it should be sorted automatically.
With the new facility to make RDF and SRF from household waste I was going to put my one bag a fortnight in the household waste and thus not feel guilty about not recycling it. A lot of others I know are planning to do the same. If this new facility is as good as they claim we should be able to put everything in the household and it should be sorted automatically. LordAshOfTheBrake

9:21am Sat 22 Feb 14

Davey Gravey says...

If this is changed what happens to the 200k wasted on green bins ?
If this is changed what happens to the 200k wasted on green bins ? Davey Gravey

11:18am Sat 22 Feb 14

fuzzey says...

Could they not have saved money by limiting the collections to just the summer months ?? This would only be about 10 collections .every 2 weeks for5 months .collection of just the 4 bags was a good idea as some households did pile it up .my garden waste will now go in the black bin .i wish them luck sorting it .
Could they not have saved money by limiting the collections to just the summer months ?? This would only be about 10 collections .every 2 weeks for5 months .collection of just the 4 bags was a good idea as some households did pile it up .my garden waste will now go in the black bin .i wish them luck sorting it . fuzzey

4:47pm Sat 22 Feb 14

house on the hill says...

fuzzey wrote:
Could they not have saved money by limiting the collections to just the summer months ?? This would only be about 10 collections .every 2 weeks for5 months .collection of just the 4 bags was a good idea as some households did pile it up .my garden waste will now go in the black bin .i wish them luck sorting it .
Really interesting idea, to make the services available based on when they will actually be required. A shame the council doesn't share your vision.
[quote][p][bold]fuzzey[/bold] wrote: Could they not have saved money by limiting the collections to just the summer months ?? This would only be about 10 collections .every 2 weeks for5 months .collection of just the 4 bags was a good idea as some households did pile it up .my garden waste will now go in the black bin .i wish them luck sorting it .[/p][/quote]Really interesting idea, to make the services available based on when they will actually be required. A shame the council doesn't share your vision. house on the hill

9:06am Sun 23 Feb 14

attilla the hun says...

one thing that always puzzles me is the ability the council has for saving money when it has no choice, it does beg the question, why were these savings not made earlier?, how was their spending allowed to get out of control, is it a case of councillors trying to justify their position on committees, claiming their attendance allowances and protecting their budgets at all costs, appeasing the unions and, seeing council tax payers as cash cows that can be bled dry to to further their own or party political ambitions,
one thing that always puzzles me is the ability the council has for saving money when it has no choice, it does beg the question, why were these savings not made earlier?, how was their spending allowed to get out of control, is it a case of councillors trying to justify their position on committees, claiming their attendance allowances and protecting their budgets at all costs, appeasing the unions and, seeing council tax payers as cash cows that can be bled dry to to further their own or party political ambitions, attilla the hun

9:42am Sun 23 Feb 14

Russell Holland says...

The situation that the Council is facing is unprecedented. Most of the money is spent on adults and children with social care needs. Demographics means more people are living for longer with more complex health needs which means the cost of care is increasing. In addition, the Council along with the public sector is having its grant reduced as part of reducing the national deficit. This means we have to change the way in which services are provided which means we are now making decisions we know are not going to be popular because we know we have to balance the budget.

The only other options would be to significantly increase Council tax which I do not think most people will want to do and if the increase were to be above 2% then there would be a referendum and I doubt that most people would vote to pay more tax.

The decision on green waste is not for this year only but for next year when we know there will be a further reduction to the grant. The Labour party know this but they are just putting forward a one year proposal in the hope of gaining a few votes but Jim Grant knows (or should know) that if the Labour party gain control of Swindon then they will face exactly the same budget pressures.
The situation that the Council is facing is unprecedented. Most of the money is spent on adults and children with social care needs. Demographics means more people are living for longer with more complex health needs which means the cost of care is increasing. In addition, the Council along with the public sector is having its grant reduced as part of reducing the national deficit. This means we have to change the way in which services are provided which means we are now making decisions we know are not going to be popular because we know we have to balance the budget. The only other options would be to significantly increase Council tax which I do not think most people will want to do and if the increase were to be above 2% then there would be a referendum and I doubt that most people would vote to pay more tax. The decision on green waste is not for this year only but for next year when we know there will be a further reduction to the grant. The Labour party know this but they are just putting forward a one year proposal in the hope of gaining a few votes but Jim Grant knows (or should know) that if the Labour party gain control of Swindon then they will face exactly the same budget pressures. Russell Holland

10:52am Sun 23 Feb 14

faatmaan says...

SCS was set up to save money, in fact it actually cost more and now is back in house, why are the council so easily lead n large financial decisions ? Wastage in the Council is still rife, perhaps the whole ethos of working practices and expenditure need to be severely looked at with an eye to best practice rather than being one of the areas largest employers and the low level of expertise expected of those who work for the council.
SCS was set up to save money, in fact it actually cost more and now is back in house, why are the council so easily lead n large financial decisions ? Wastage in the Council is still rife, perhaps the whole ethos of working practices and expenditure need to be severely looked at with an eye to best practice rather than being one of the areas largest employers and the low level of expertise expected of those who work for the council. faatmaan

11:54am Sun 23 Feb 14

Always Grumpy says...

"Russell Holland says... The only other options would be to significantly increase Council tax which I do not think most people will want to do and if the increase were to be above 2% then there would be a referendum and I doubt that most people would vote to pay more tax."

No, significantly reduce the amount of money spent on adults and children with social needs. I'm sick of my council tax being spent on this and virtually nothing else.
"Russell Holland says... The only other options would be to significantly increase Council tax which I do not think most people will want to do and if the increase were to be above 2% then there would be a referendum and I doubt that most people would vote to pay more tax." No, significantly reduce the amount of money spent on adults and children with social needs. I'm sick of my council tax being spent on this and virtually nothing else. Always Grumpy

12:55pm Sun 23 Feb 14

trolley dolley says...

Always Grumpy whilst I agree with what you say, in the past people have tried to reduce the budgets for Social Care by cutting out wasteful items.

This is always met by a cry that it is hurting the old and the vulnerable.

The sums involved are astronomical both on a group and individual level.

A FOI question would give you the answers.
Always Grumpy whilst I agree with what you say, in the past people have tried to reduce the budgets for Social Care by cutting out wasteful items. This is always met by a cry that it is hurting the old and the vulnerable. The sums involved are astronomical both on a group and individual level. A FOI question would give you the answers. trolley dolley

3:01pm Sun 23 Feb 14

house on the hill says...

faatmaan wrote:
SCS was set up to save money, in fact it actually cost more and now is back in house, why are the council so easily lead n large financial decisions ? Wastage in the Council is still rife, perhaps the whole ethos of working practices and expenditure need to be severely looked at with an eye to best practice rather than being one of the areas largest employers and the low level of expertise expected of those who work for the council.
Put yourself in the Councils shoes for a minute. you work in this unique monopoly that not only gives us no choice to go elsewhere for our services, but we are also forced by law to pay even for those we don't use. they can also just increase what we have to pay within reason and there is nothing we can do about it. Most of the work and decision making is actually made by the officers who we can not vote out and who have little or no responsibility or consequences for their decisions on pretty good salaries, gold plated pensions that most in the private sector can only dream of (and still they moan but thats another issue), 6 months full pay when off sick etc etc.

If you had all that would you really bother to work your socks off to make it as efficient and customer focused as you could or just chug along going from meeting to meeting picking up your pay thanks very much. Anyone who goes into the council from the private sector learns very early on that there are some good workers there who would love to change things but they are stifled by those around and above them who have never worked anywhere else and really don't have a clue about running a value for money business which is basically what it is and don't want to change their nice easy life.

As for changing that, the biggest problem is that those who could change it and bring about the much needed change are the ones who would be the first out of the door so clearly that will never happen. Add to that councillors who usually have very little experience of the areas they work in and they chop and change on a regular basis. Not a very good recipe for making things work and why we have the mess we do and changing parties wont make a blind bit of difference as they are both faced with exactly the same problem.
[quote][p][bold]faatmaan[/bold] wrote: SCS was set up to save money, in fact it actually cost more and now is back in house, why are the council so easily lead n large financial decisions ? Wastage in the Council is still rife, perhaps the whole ethos of working practices and expenditure need to be severely looked at with an eye to best practice rather than being one of the areas largest employers and the low level of expertise expected of those who work for the council.[/p][/quote]Put yourself in the Councils shoes for a minute. you work in this unique monopoly that not only gives us no choice to go elsewhere for our services, but we are also forced by law to pay even for those we don't use. they can also just increase what we have to pay within reason and there is nothing we can do about it. Most of the work and decision making is actually made by the officers who we can not vote out and who have little or no responsibility or consequences for their decisions on pretty good salaries, gold plated pensions that most in the private sector can only dream of (and still they moan but thats another issue), 6 months full pay when off sick etc etc. If you had all that would you really bother to work your socks off to make it as efficient and customer focused as you could or just chug along going from meeting to meeting picking up your pay thanks very much. Anyone who goes into the council from the private sector learns very early on that there are some good workers there who would love to change things but they are stifled by those around and above them who have never worked anywhere else and really don't have a clue about running a value for money business which is basically what it is and don't want to change their nice easy life. As for changing that, the biggest problem is that those who could change it and bring about the much needed change are the ones who would be the first out of the door so clearly that will never happen. Add to that councillors who usually have very little experience of the areas they work in and they chop and change on a regular basis. Not a very good recipe for making things work and why we have the mess we do and changing parties wont make a blind bit of difference as they are both faced with exactly the same problem. house on the hill

3:17pm Sun 23 Feb 14

corin22 says...

wake up swindon! most of the councils around glos have paid for green waste disposal for years now,
wake up swindon! most of the councils around glos have paid for green waste disposal for years now, corin22

4:03pm Sun 23 Feb 14

Clippies says...

Swindon Borough Council claim the new paid for Green Waste collection will save us all £685,000 a year. However, using figures supplied by David Renard (leader of the council) and Richard Hurley (cabinet member for public protection, housing and street smart delivery) the service is actually going to cost the tax payer a minimum £350,000. Richard Hurley also admits scrapping the idea would cost the tax payer £800,000. This service was agreed after the Council discovered just 15-20% of households would sign up to the £40 annual fee, which is likely to rise year on year!
Swindon Borough Council claim the new paid for Green Waste collection will save us all £685,000 a year. However, using figures supplied by David Renard (leader of the council) and Richard Hurley (cabinet member for public protection, housing and street smart delivery) the service is actually going to cost the tax payer a minimum £350,000. Richard Hurley also admits scrapping the idea would cost the tax payer £800,000. This service was agreed after the Council discovered just 15-20% of households would sign up to the £40 annual fee, which is likely to rise year on year! Clippies

4:15pm Sun 23 Feb 14

Davey Gravey says...

Clippies wrote:
Swindon Borough Council claim the new paid for Green Waste collection will save us all £685,000 a year. However, using figures supplied by David Renard (leader of the council) and Richard Hurley (cabinet member for public protection, housing and street smart delivery) the service is actually going to cost the tax payer a minimum £350,000. Richard Hurley also admits scrapping the idea would cost the tax payer £800,000. This service was agreed after the Council discovered just 15-20% of households would sign up to the £40 annual fee, which is likely to rise year on year!
This expensive **** up is right up there with the WiFi robbery then. More tax payers money wasted on ill thought out Tory brainwaves
[quote][p][bold]Clippies[/bold] wrote: Swindon Borough Council claim the new paid for Green Waste collection will save us all £685,000 a year. However, using figures supplied by David Renard (leader of the council) and Richard Hurley (cabinet member for public protection, housing and street smart delivery) the service is actually going to cost the tax payer a minimum £350,000. Richard Hurley also admits scrapping the idea would cost the tax payer £800,000. This service was agreed after the Council discovered just 15-20% of households would sign up to the £40 annual fee, which is likely to rise year on year![/p][/quote]This expensive **** up is right up there with the WiFi robbery then. More tax payers money wasted on ill thought out Tory brainwaves Davey Gravey

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