DCLG minister Brandon Lewis has criticised South Gloucestershire council for using residents as cash cows, after the local authority introduced a charge for green waste collections in March 2014.
Speaking in the House of Commons, the MP for Great Yarmouth slammed the £36 charge as a “back-door bin tax”, and argued councillors who vote in such measures should be named to ensure transparency.
The council voted to introduce the charge in September 2013 and implemented it on March 31. However, according to local Conservative MP for Kingswood, Chris Skidmore, who raised the issue in Parliament, just 36,000 out of 109,000 households have opted to pay for the service.
South Gloucestershire council has argued it needed to implement the charge in order to protect frontline services but the move has provoked a backlash with 4,200 residents in the Kingswood constituency signing a petition to reverse the charge.
Lewis yesterday called the council’s reasoning a tired refrain and said it should stop moaning about financial hardship and make sensible savings by “joint working, cutting fraud and protecting services”.
Green waste charges have also proved controversial in other areas of England, with Birmingham city council coming under fire for imposing a £35 charge on residents. The move led to a stand-off between the local authority and households in the run up to the local elections.