Paying for Green Waste: Tough choices in tough financial times

No one wants to pay for a service they previously got for free, but when the choice is about cutting care and support for the elderly, the vulnerable, or the young, or protecting a non-statutory service, then it is a decision that has to be made. Croydon currently spends £1.6million a year on the green waste collection. It is a not a statutory service and it is very popular with many residents. It is green in all senses of the word, in that the waste is not taken to landfill, instead it is composted. Under the last Labour Council, Addiscombe Ward was the first part of Croydon to get a green waste collection, and we know the service will be missed.

Other boroughs charge for this service: Over the years Outer London boroughs have been not been fairly funded by central government and Croydon has been harder hit than most due to the growth of population and demand for services. Most other outer London borough already charge for this service. Lib Dem Sutton charges their residents £59 for a 240 litre bin, and Conservative Bromley charges £60 a year. So Croydon’s £60 is in line with other boroughs charges.

Cuts in funding from Central Government: The stark financial reality is Croydon can no longer afford the free service, due to the massive cuts its has endured over the last 4 years, and the new cuts coming Croydon’s way from George Osborne’s austerity heavy July budget and recent Autumn Spending Review. Since 2010 Croydon Council has had 46% of its financial support from Central Govt cut. We expect to see the remaining Revenue Support Grant cut by a further 50%. Croydon has laid off over 1000 members of staff and expect many more to go. Running Croydon is about making choices, many of them are difficult and not ones which we would make given the choice. But between now and 2019 Croydon Council will need to make another £29milllions of savings, to cover £11m of growth pressures (rise in population, growth in the number of elderly, etc) and £18million loss of revenue. Sadly, the Green Waste service won’t be the only difficult cut we will have to make.

Croydon Labour chooses to protect services to the elderly: Did you know that Croydon spends more money on looking after Older People (£31.5m) than it does on street cleaning, refuse collection and waste disposal combined (£25.5m)? Croydon Labour Council has committed to protect statutory services, such as care to the elderly, the vulnerable and the young. Indeed, Croydon Council will spend more on these services as the demand for them grows and because it’s the right thing to do. This area of the council now takes up over 50% of the council’s expenditure and rightly is the most protected from cuts. This means virtually all the cuts now happen to the other departments such as Leisure, Culture, Finance, Highways, Road cleaning, parks, waste management.

New cuts expected from Central Government: George Osborne hasn’t told Croydon Council yet what its final cut for this year will be but to be prudent Croydon is predicting a £13m cut for this year. By 2019 we expect a cumulative cut of around £39 million. George Osborne has admitted that social care for older people is underfunded and has told Councils that they should make up the shortfall by putting up Council Tax an additional 2% a year for the next 4 year. Osborne’s compulsory council tax rises shows how underfunded local services are.

How will the Green Waste service work? More details at Council’s website but Residents with gardens to register for the proposed service by 31 December 31 2015 so Croydon Council can decide if there is enough interest to go ahead with it. To register your interest in the proposed new service, please go to:

http://my.croydon.gov.uk/gardenwaste

You will not be charged for the proposed service when you register and if Croydon does not receive enough interest it may not go ahead. If the new service goes ahead it will begin on 18 April 2016, we will contact you in January 2016 to let you know and to take payment. If you pay for the service before 19 February 2016 you will receive an early bird discount of £10.

About Sean

Councillor for Addiscombe Ward, 1994-2006, re-elected in May 2010 along with Mark Watson and Patricia Hay-Justice. Since May 2014 Chair of Scrutiny. Lives locally in Addiscombe.
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