THE jury is still out on a proposed ‘stealth’ tax on green waste as borough chiefs are committed to conducting a review into organic waste collection.
East Staffordshire Borough Council have declined to comment on whether a £40 annual tax on brown bin collections will go ahead, after angry rate-payers took to the internet to sign a petition against the proposed rise.
The controversial charge would see taxpayers shelling out extra cash for what has been called a ‘stealth tax’ by the ex-leader of East Staffordshire Borough Council Richard Grosvenor.
A spokesman for the borough council said: “The tax is part of a corporate plan for green waste and its set to be discussed at a future meeting in June or July.
“It’s yet to be considered so at the moment we will make no further comment.
“Before political control changed at the council, we needed to find £500,000 from 2015/16 to balance its budget up to 2018/19.”
The new administration at East Staffordshire Borough Council, headed by Councillor Julian Mott, has pledged to review the previously cut pest control service, consider introducing the living wage for staff and consider a business plan for organic waste collection which may involve the bin tax.
It will also find £15,000 from its existing budget to fund free swimming for under 16s at Meadowside Leisure Centre in Burton.
The council also decided to spend an extra ‘one off’ £50,000 on neighbourhood development.
The new cabinet is aiming for a council tax freeze in 2015/16.
Richard Grosvenor said: “This bin tax is a stealth tax equivalent to an 8.6 per cent increase in resident council tax for a service they already pay for. “This charge should not be introduced as it will increase fly tipping, reduce recycling rates and impact all residents of East Staffordshire negatively.”
Greg Hall, of Abbots Bromley, said: “This charge will result in fly-tipping with many residents refusing to pay extra for the service.”
John Ashmore, of Uttoxeter, said: “Council tax is by far our largest household bill which is Band B and enough is enough for hard-working families.
“It will discourage people from recycling their waste and keeping their gardens looking tidy.”
Chris Smith, of Denstone, said: “I am retired and do not want to travel to Uttoxeter waste recycling plant to discharge my garden waste which is a nine mile round trip.”
Helen Bullock, of Marchington, said: “To enable the council to meet the governments recycling targets we need to encourage people to recycle not charge an extra tax.”
The petition against the increase is available to view online and sign at: www.change.org