What? No Bags!

Hot on the heels of Labour charging Birmingham residents £35 to take their garden waste away, now Labour have decided we can all pay for our black bags too.

Until the introduction of wheelie bins (which for most wards will probably be in about 12 months time) the Labour Council in Birmingham will continue to run a black bag rubbish collection system and a green bag garden waste recycling system but – it now transpires – without the black and green bags!

Full page adverts in the Post and Mail telling residents of Labour’s plans, slip in the information that as from April 1st, the Labour led Council has decided residents must buy their own black and green bags from the supermarket. “Most of us buy additional sacks when we do the weekly shopping” the advert chirrups.

Oh really? Which Councillor approved that wording? Clearly not one who’s ever had to exist on a tight budget. Not everyone DOES buy extra bags. Some people can’t afford to. Some of my constituents become very concerned if the Council delivery of bags is late, because they absolutely rely on them.

This Labour Council lurches from one insensitive decision to another. They say they can’t take away garden waste “for free” from next year onwards. They can’t give out “free” black and green bags from April 1st 2013. It’s about time they accepted these things are not FREE, they are services which residents have paid for in their Council Tax. Now Birmingham Labour is expecting to them to pay twice.

An article on the Chamberlain Files indicates that some Labour Councillors were apparently “shocked” when they discovered their own group (i.e. they themselves) had decided to charge for taking away green garden waste. I wonder if any were “shocked” to hear they are going to run a black bag waste system for a year without providing any black bags.

If they knew what was going on and agreed these proposals, they haven’t thought things through properly (that’s putting it kindly). The litter which will come from rubbish being put out – not in black bags acquired from the supermarket, but (in many cases) in free supermarket carrier bags which are thin and split easily – will surely lead to increased street cleansing costs for the Council (unless they intend to leave it all just blowing around and make Birmingham look a tip).

But if any Labour Councillors really didn’t know what was being planned, then they are either incompetent, or perhaps their group is split down the middle with only half of them being told what is going on. Either way, only ten months into their administration, Birmingham’s Labour Group is looking increasingly shambolic.

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