What’s got everyone involved in an animated discussion this week then? Why, it’s the always sexy topic of rubbish collection, as big-boned Government Minister Eric Pickles has announced that he is bribing councils to return to weekly collections:-
Last year, the communities secretary told the Daily Mail he was an ardent supporter of weekly bin collections, explaining: “It’s a basic right for every English man and woman to be able to put the remnants of their chicken tikka masala in their bin without having to wait a fortnight for it to be collected.”
(Pickles wasn’t talking about himself in the above sentence, as he has clearly never thrown any food away, ever)
I’ll say this very quietly, because it will probably annoy certain people, but (whisper) I actually think weekly collections are appropriate. Now, it’s true that a home containing one or two people probably doesn’t produce enough waste to need a bin emptying every week, but there are four of us here at Castle Hampton and we generally manage to fill both our recycling and normal waste bins every week. Liverpool is one of the authorities which has stuck with weekly collections; if they went to fortnightly, I’m not sure we’d cope. Yes, I’m sure Captain Planet wouldn’t approve, but it’s not my fault that everything I buy is packaged in what seems like fifteen layers of cardboard and plastic.
There are a few things which bother me, however: first of all – we had £250m sitting around doing nothing? Where did they find this? Was it tucked away in Eric Pickles’s jowls? And, if we do have that money, is bin collection really a priority? Couldn’t we spend that money on schools or hospitals or something?
Secondly, one of the key policies of the Conservatives, as announced on their web page, states: “We are promoting the radical devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to councils, local residents and community groups.”
So it seems the Government’s policy is to give local authorities more devolved powers, except when the local authorities to do things the Government don’t like, in which case the government bribes them to change back. Well, that makes perfect sense.