Today was budget day – there are 101 stories I could write, including how every Labour councillor voted to close Beechdale Library, but the one bit I had a bit of fun with today was Labour’s intention to introduce a charge for replacement wheelie bins.
If you are unfortunate enough to lose your wheelie bin in the next financial year, there will be a charge for a new one. At the moment, the first one you lose is free, but the council charge you if you lose any more than that. But as we all know, there are 50 ways to lose your wheelie bin. And we know a song about that, don’t we, boys and girls?
I had asked on twitter if anyone could help me out filling in the rest of the song. My example of a way to lose a wheelie bin was… arson attack, Jack.
My friends on Twitter came up with the following:
- Ripped off the lid, Sid,
- Flood swept it away, Fay
- Rolled down the street, Pete
And tossing the idea around in group we also tried
- It’s just knackered, Saghir Akhtar
… which doesn’t really work but got the biggest laugh.
That’s all a bit of fun, but the main idea here – that Labour will charge for replacement bins – is still a bad idea. There are many ways you can lose you bin, including theft and arson, so many of the people who will end up paying the charge will themselves be the victims of crime who are penalised again by the Council.
One of the things that irks me most is that one of the standard dances in the budget speech is that the Tories propose a charge for the collection of bulky waste, and the Labour group knock it down saying that if you charge for what is currently free, you will force innocent householders to become fly-tippers overnight. In fact, the City Council currently has some interesting pilots to see if there are even better ways of dealing with bulky waste than the free collections – for example there’s a pilot in Aspley where there’s a weekly bulky collection instead of an on-demand service.
Labour didn’t seem to see that the same argument with bulky waste will probably apply to wheelie bins: if you charge, there will be more fly-tipping.
They’re also looking at some unhelpful ideas like not charging benefit claimants, or maybe not charging people with crime numbers. That will have some unhelpful consequences: recorded crime would rise in the second instance, in the first, the Council might even create a black market scheme where people in work steal the bins of benefit claimants, because they can get a free one when the workers can’t.
All in all, a crazy scheme that should just be, erm, binned.