Most councils are struggling to balance their books at the moment and are seeking to cut back expenditure in those areas they hope the taxpayers will find acceptable. Many councils have chosen to cut weekly refuse cllections and collect fortnightly instead.
Our own council has always seen weekly refuse collections as something local taxpayers value highly and is therefore one of our top priorities. It was therefore incredible to see Rossendale council in Lancashire, proposing to actually stop collecting refuse all together from hundreds of the rural properties in their district.
If you ask most people, what does your local council do? Their answer would almost always be, empty the bins. It was particularly disappointing to hear a local councillor (albeit Labour) trotting out a bureaucratic justification, ‘we are obliged to collect the refuse, but not necessarily from the dwelling’. It’s extremely poor politics to directly associate yourself with such an unpopular decision by the use of ‘we’, it clearly demonstrates a lack of empathy, let alone sympathy, with the effected residents. Unless of course you are indeed in full and enthusiastic agreement with the decision!
On that basis, if all residents are to be required to manage their own refuse collections in some way or another, as in the case of Rossendale, one has to ask how much longer the council itself would last?
Once a council drops off of the radar of local people, by failing to maintain such a basic as refuse collection, then it surely won’t be long before a local referendum appears demanding that their local council be scrapped altogether.