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Glasgow Live
Glasgow Live
Drew Sandelands

East Renfrewshire garden waste price hike an 'unfair burden'

Plans to increase the charge for garden waste collection in East Renfrewshire will be reviewed as Conservatives fear it could put an “unfair burden” on residents.

A meeting will be held on Wednesday to decide whether the proposed above inflation £20 rise, from £40 to £60, will go ahead.

Conservative councillors called-in the original decision, and have suggested keeping any increase below the rate of inflation.

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Cabinet members approved a rise on January 26 after officials reported it would “assist towards recovering the full cost of delivering the service and contribute towards savings proposals”.

East Renfrewshire Council is facing an estimated budget shortfall of around £19m for the coming year.

The garden waste decision will be considered by the council’s audit and scrutiny committee on Wednesday [February 8]. It can choose to agree with the original decision or recommend changes, which would be taken back to the cabinet.

If cabinet members did not accept the changes, the decision would go to a full council meeting.

Cabinet members made the initial decision ahead of next month’s budget meeting to give officials to sell the permits ahead of the new financial year.

The cabinet also agreed to introduce a new charge for residents who want an extra garden waste bin. They would be available for £60 plus £60 for an additional permit.

However, the five Conservative councillors — Jim McLean, Paul Edlin, Kate Campbell, Gordon Wallace and Andrew Morrison — called-in the decision.

They stated the “main objective” of charging for environmental services is to “ensure the actual costs of delivering such services are fully recovered”.

The councillors also said an initial report “failed to provide a breakdown of the costs of delivering the garden waste uplift service”.

The call-in notice added: “Cabinet were however verbally advised by officers that whilst the “brown bin uplift” service will run at a loss, the garden waste element of that service to which the charges are applicable, presently operates at a profit.”

Brown bins are used for garden waste and food waste but the council only charges for the collection of garden waste.

At the cabinet meeting, an official said the cost of the whole brown bin service is “estimated to be around £2.2m for next year” but the income generated is only expected to be about £1.8m.

The Conservatives have said it is “accepted that inflationary pressures” could “eliminate any profit” but added “an increase of 50% based on the information provided to cabinet thus far, is not justified, placing an unfair burden on those who use the service”.

They suggested the increase “be contained below the rate of inflation by way of efficiencies accrued from the provision of a second bin”.

Cllr McLean, as lead signatory, will be invited to speak at the meeting on Wednesday, where council leader Owen O’Donnell, as a substitute for environment convener Cllr Danny Devlin, is also expected to address the committee.


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