I happened to see a copy of a Weoley Labour News on a colleague’s desk today – and it contained a really surprising statement on the front page.
The article was about the change to wheelie bins, and the Labour leaflet stated “The switch to wheelie bins is done using money that can’t be spent on any other service.” All I can say is, if the Weoley Labour activists really believe this, then they don’t know what’s going on in the Council.
To recap – the Council won a grant from the Government for almost £30 million to ensure weekly rubbish collections. In Birmingham, Labour decided to use this money to fund the introduction of wheelie bins. The money didn’t have to be spent on wheelie bins, but that’s what Labour had asked for, and it’s true the money did have to be spent on the rubbish collection service. So up to that point, the Weoley leaflet is accurate. BUT that’s only half the story!
Because the grant money is not funding all the cost of the wheelie bins by any means. Labour’s wheelie bin project in Birmingham is costing a whopping £62 million.
The rest of the money (i.e. over half of it) is coming from revenue and prudential borrowing. That money (around £32 million) COULD be spent on other services. But the Labour Councillors running Birmingham City Council have CHOSEN to spend it on wheelie bins. They’ve chosen that ahead of other spending priorities, and they’ve done it at a time of real economic hardship. Let everyone be clear about that. Including Weoley Labour Party!