wheelie bins - Cllr Rachel Bailey, new Cheshire East Conservative Group Leader

A controversial new bin charge is necessary as Cheshire East Council has overspent on replacement bins by £350,000 so far this year, its leader claims.

Cllr Rachel Bailey, Conservative leader of the council, was challenged at a full council meeting on Thursday over the decision to begin implementing a charge for new and replacement wheelie bins from next Tuesday.

The proposal was part of the council’s budget for 2018-19 – but it proved unpopular during public consultation, and a CEC scrutiny committee urged the cabinet to make a U-turn.

Cllr Jonathan Parry, Labour member of Middlewich Town Council, described the move as ‘another kick in the teeth for taxpayers’ following recent increases to council tax.

He said: “After being contacted by a large number of angry and disappointed residents in my town council ward, it has become overwhelmingly obvious how unpopular the decision of this council to implement the new bin charging scheme actually is.

“This Tory cabinet put this scheme out to consultation and it was rejected. It went to scrutiny and was rejected, but still the cabinet implemented the scheme using their usual consult and ignore strategy.

“Whatever happened to good old fashioned democracy? It looks well and truly dead and buried in Cheshire East.”

Michael Unett, Labour candidate for Alsager in next year’s elections, added that the move would “hit the poorest households in Cheshire East”.

CEC members from his party had requested that the decision was “called in” for further scrutiny last month, but this was rejected by the monitoring officer who was satisfied the decision was not open to challenge.

In response, Cllr Bailey reminded the council that the charge applies for new bins at new properties where the developer has not provided one.

Meanwhile, a charge will only be incurred where a bin is lost or stolen if it happens more than once in a three-year period, and bins damaged during collection will be replaced free of charge.

Cllr Bailey added that people’s financial circumstances ‘would be taken into account’ – with a 25% concessions for residents on qualifying benefits set to apply – but insisted the charge was necessary in order to balance the books.

She said: “Where we are currently if you look at the mid-year review, we are around £350,000 overspent because of the unprecedented demand for new bins.

“That isn’t a cost that can be sustained by this council, and indeed many other councils both far and near have long since implemented a charge – some have gone as far as to implement a delivery charge as well.

“And that charging process is not politically aligned, it is across all parties.

“I trust you are not saying to me that this council should absorb the £350,000 cost at the moment, and not ensure that this budget is balanced, and not ensure that front-line services have that support.”

3 Comments

  1. Dee mason says:

    What exactly is seen to be wrong about a charge? If you lose your coat on the train you don’t expect a free replacement!!
    It’s called being an adult, bringing your bin back immediately after collection and not leaving it on the street till the weekend!!

    • John says:

      Being an adult means standing up for your rights and other people’s rights too, the service provided by your council tax re bins must include bins otherwise the council would be charging for a service you could not enjoy which I’m pretty certain is a breech of contract, the overspend is likely due to the council planners not requiring new build developers to provide a bin, which could be rectified by retrospective legislation I guess , or just tell the various developers they won’t get any more planning permissions unless they rectify this stupid oversight, they probably are not liable though as after all the council are in receipt of the colossal council tax.
      A soon as someone moves in they cough up council tax so the tiny bin cost can come out of their first payment easy

    • Michael Hall says:

      If I lose my coat on a train, I expect to pay for it. I wouldn’t expect to pay for it when I’ve been paying money to the clothing store for a lot of things including free replacement coats. Especially when the store suddenly changes the rules because they seem to have screwed up their sums.
      If CEC had explained the overspend in terms of what “act of God” has caused them to overspend their allocated budget and contingency, I might be more sympathetic.
      Sadly, in view of the catalogue of “mistakes” that have been made in several CEC departments over the last year or two, without an explanation of this latest “mistake” it is very easy to form an opinion that there is a serious problem in the plans and operation of CEC.

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