Boston

“Poorest will be hit hardest” by bin charges, warn Boston councillors

Five-year-old charges for replacement bins, which Boston Borough Council has recently started cracking down on, could hit poorest communities hardest say councillors.

Members of a cross-party scrutiny panel want the £25 charge, which applies when damage is caused to a bin which is not the fault of council workers or machines, to be scrapped.

However, senior members warned savings would have to be made elsewhere.

Conservative Councillor Deborah Evans at a call-in scrutiny meeting on Thursday warned: “£25 relates to food for a week for a lot of families in Boston.

“It’s sad we see this £25 as ‘oh it’s only £25’. For someone that’s a lot of packs of nappies.”

Independent Councillor Peter Bedford, who led the council when the charge was introduced, said the original intention was to stop people abusing the system, but now it was being used “willy nilly”.

Councillors also raised concerns about fly-tipping increases, residents paying for vandalism that was not their fault and bins coming to the end of their life-span.

In the four years prior to the start of the crackdown in April, the council had only brought in £850 in charges.

However, in the five months since the new procedures were brought in it has made £4,150.

Figures earlier this year revealed the council had spent £162,000 on new green and blue bins since 2013, but had only recouped £58,000 – leaving a £104,000 gap.

Councillors at the scrutiny meeting on Thursday night.

Portfolio holder for environmental services Conservative councillor Yvonne Stevens called on councillors to “put your thinking caps on” and warned the savings would have to come from elsewhere.

She said this could be other services stopping or reducing or even redundancies in services.

She she felt the cost encouraged people to take more care of the bins.

 “When your fence gets broken because someone’s fallen into it… you end up fixing your fence.  

“So unfortunately, if your bin gets damaged you’re liable to replace that,” she said.

“It’s one of those awful situations that we don’t like but we have got to cope with and get on with.”

Council officer Christian Allen said the authority had to make more savings now than before. He said it had already had to deliver £2 million of savings and now had to make £1 million more.

He said there was no evidence increased fly-tipping was a result of the charge.

She said it was unfair for taxpayers to subsidise the cost for others.

Councillors voted unanimously to take the debate to Full Council on December 16.


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