Those of you with gardens will remember that when the council introduced charging for green bin collections there was a great deal of anger at the level of charge being imposed. Almost all those (some 16,000 residents) with green bins paid the new £50 charge. The council had forecast that only 8,000 residents would pay up, giving an income of nearly £400k to cover the £300k cost of providing the service plus a small margin for error. Some residents prefer to use the cheaper green bags rather than bins.
The council are now proposing to raise the green in collection charge to £60 to rake in some £850k annually from next year when the cost of providing the service has barely changed, at £300k. The eagle-eyed amongst will have spotted that the council are using their residents as cash cows to make a profit of over £500k on their green bin service.
I wonder what Labour councillors would have said if they saw a private firm whack up their charges for a monopoly service and treat their customers with utter contempt. What howls of anger and indignation would have poured forth!
Unsurprisingly, when they introduced the £50 charge in 2016, the Labour councillors did not mention the making of excessive profits from green bin collections but instead talked of covering their costs. Would Labour councillors now explain to us, the residents of Reading, how they justify putting up the costs of a monopoly service that already makes a hefty profit.
Lastly, isn’t it strange how this story breaks just after the local elections and not before!