Tory Eric Pickles and his ConDem government could be about to hand a significant political present to Croydon’s new Labour-run council, by forcing them to bring back weekly bin collections.
Labour won control of Croydon Town Hall a month ago largely on a promise to clean-up the borough’s streets. So any compulsion – and cash – from central government to return to weekly bin collections will be pushing at an open door as far as our local council is concerned.
It’s a move which will leave the defeated Tory leader of Croydon Council, Mike Fisher, all the more red-faced: he and his mates spent two years when in charge of the council turning down offers of more than £1 million in government grants to have weekly bin collections, something which is generally popular with residents.
Pickles issued an edict earlier this year to prevent other councils from following Tory-run Croydon’s lead and halving the frequency of bin collections. The Tory local government secretary said the guidance – issued to all local authorities – exposed the “false claims” made by councils to justify scaling back services. He must have had Croydon in mind, where there is a widespread view that reduced refuse collection has led to greater costs being incurred clearing up litter-strewn streets and increasing amounts of fly tipping.
Pickles has even claimed that having bins emptied once a week was a “fundamental right”.
Croydon is one of more than 60 councils which have switched to fortnightly bin collections since the ConDem government came to power in 2010 – amounting to 18.5 million affected households across the country.
According to a report in yesterday’s Sunday Torygraph, Pickles has decided to force councils to change their policy by making it a legal requirement to collect people’s bins every week.
“One option being considered by the Conservatives is the introduction of a minimum service standard, which would reinstate the previous legal requirement for councils to collect rubbish weekly,” Pickles told the newspaper.
If the new standard is imposed, it is likely to cost Croydon Council more than the estimated £1 million annual grant that was previously on offer from Pickles’s Communities and Local Government Department. But the Labour council is certain to try to take the political credit for the improved service, and for delivering the cleaner streets that could be a consequence.
Coming to Croydon
- David Lean Cinema: Calvary, July 3
- Coast to Capital business briefing, July 4
- Basically Johnny Moped at Stanley Tech, July 8
- David Lean Cinema: We Are The Best!, July 10
- Croydon Folk and Blues Festival, July 12
- David Lean Cinema: Half of a Yellow Sun, July 17
- David Lean Cinema: Pantani: Accidental Death of a Cyclist, July 21
- David Lean Cinema: Tracks, July 24
- Fragile, Spread Eagle Theatre, July 24-26
- CODA’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at Wandle Park, Jul 30-Aug 2
- David Lean Cinema: Locke, July 31
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, Aug 10
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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