And then there was one – David Ellesmere reports on a disappearing service in the rest of Suffolk.
Suffolk Coastal District Council is planning to introduce a charge of £43 to collect brown bins. This will will leave Labour-run Ipswich Borough Council as the only authority in Suffolk to keep this service free of charge.
This was always going to happen as soon as Suffolk Coastal and Waveney decided to merge into a single East Suffolk Council.
Waveney already charges for brown bin collection and it would have been unfair for one area to pay while another got it free.
Either Waveney had to bring back free bin collections or Suffolk Coastal had to introduce charges and Conservative councillors were only ever going to make one decision!
Asuming they run the same scheme as Waveney, all Suffolk Coastal residents will pay the same charge. There will be no reduction for people on low incomes – they will pay exactly the same charge as millionaires for their brown bins.
The annual £43 fee will be an up-front charge with no option of monthly budget payments. There will be no rebate if you move away from the area half way through the year.
All of these issues will clearly act as a big barrier to people on low incomes and it is why Suffolk Coastal are predicting a big drop in recycling when they bring in this charge.
Conservative councillors do not appear to have even considered any of these measures to make the scheme fairer.
In Ipswich we take the view that paying for brown bin collections through council tax is a matter of both fairness and efficiency.
We already have an established collection method for council tax. If we introduced charging we’d have the extra cost of putting a new payment mechanism in place.
People on low incomes get an automatic reduction through the means-tested council tax benefit, plus the opportunity for monthly budget payments.
The bigger your garden, the higher your council tax band so those who use brown bins most, pay more.
All this means more people recycle, so less waste goes to landfill.
That’s why Ipswich’s brown bins will remain free of charge.