I couldn’t make this up so see below:
- What the Echo said
- What my press release said
- What my motion to the next council meeting says to try and resolve the situation. (This has been agreed with the Labour Party)
The Echo story
LIVERPOOL council is set to turn down a £10m government grant to improve bin collections – because accepting the money would increase costs in the longer term.
Opposition parties said the bungle was humiliating for the council as it had done its sums wrong and should never have bid for the money in the first place.
The money was offered by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles as an incentive to keep weekly bin collections.
The Labour-run council had been planning to use £7.5m on buying new wheelie bins that were smaller than the current bins. The cash was linked to increasing the number of recycling collections, but city officials realised the cost would be much higher than present.
The council was facing extra costs of £5m over five years, with only £2.5m left from the government once the new bins had been bought.
Liberal Democrat Leader Richard Kemp said: “This will do tremendous damage to our reputation in Whitehall when we apply for other funds in future.
“This is a monumental mess, which is completely of the council’s own making. The council will be left with egg on its face. The government agreed with every items and every penny that the council asked for but the council got its sums wrong. ”
It is understood officials acknowledged, on reflection, that spending £7.5m on new bins, at a time of financial cuts might not play well with the public.
The government also wanted a commitment to retain weekly collections for five years.
And the other deciding factor was a realisation that the changes would not have increased Liverpool’s 28% recycling rate – the worst in Merseyside.
Labour’s cabinet member with responsibility for the bin service Cllr Steve Munby said the council was desperate for cash and needed to explore all options.
“It would have been irresponsible not to bid for the money, we are desperate for cash at the moment.”
He admitted the council would have been landed with higher collection costs had it accepted the money and bought smaller bins.
The row comes as the city council is considering moving to fortnightly bin collections – in a bid to save money and improve recycling rates.
As revealed last month, officials at the city council are concerned that in some areas 95% of residents do not bother to recycle.
Under alternate weekly collections, general waste is collected one week and recycling the next, on a rolling basis.
The change would save the council at least £1m a year as it struggles to cut £32m from next year’s budget.
Terraced streets would be likely to be exempted, and remain with a weekly bin service, if the council adopts the change.
Liberal Democrat Press Release
Council rubbishes £10m Government Cash for weekly bin collection.
The news that Liverpool City Council is turning down a grant of £10m for Government to maintain weekly bin collections has been met with bewilderment and shock.
Liverpool Liberal Democrat Leader Richard Kemp said “This will do tremendous damage to our reputation in Whitehall when we apply for other funds in future.
“This is a monumental mess, which is completely of the council’s own making. The council will be left with egg on its face.”
“The frightening part is that the Mayor got his sums wrong and he has wasted 6 months on a bid which could never have worked. Meanwhile recycling in Liverpool has been exposed as dismal. And residents aren’t getting bin collections right. Again…”
My Motion to the next meeting of the City Council
14. Recycling in the City of Liverpool by Councillor Richard Kemp CBE
Council views with concern the poor levels of recycling in the City making Liverpool the lowest recycler in the Greater Liverpool area and the derisory levels for recycling at 5% in some areas of the city.
Council accepts the need to make a ‘step change’ in its recycling activities and resolves to:
* Examine all methods of increasing recycling including the recycling of food waste.
* Review collection frequencies;
* The creation of more ‘bring sites’;
* The development of a major recycling complex to reduce the waste stream being sent to landfill;
* Create an education programme which reviews how the recycling message is brought home to all members of the community.
It therefore requests the Mayor of Liverpool to immediately commence consultation with the citizens of Liverpool.