I was incensed yesterday when I saw the leaflet about Brent Council's waste collection that had been pushed through my door. It put such a gloss on the £40 annual 'garden tax' charge for green bin collection that many people must have thought that it was almost as good as winning the lottery!
It advertised a free bulky waste collection despite the fact that proposals are going before the Council to introduce a charge of £15 for such collections.
The bulky waste collection charge has long been an issue between Labour and the Lib Dems. The Lib Dem-Conservative administration introduced a charge of £25 and the incoming Labour adminstration in 2010 abolished the charge.
The arguments the then councillor James Powney made against the charge still stand. LINK
Now Paul Lorber, Liberal Democrat Brent Council leader at the time of the £25 charge, has made a formal complaint to Council officers about the current leaflet. He suggests that the £15 charge was put into the proposals merely so that it could be withdrawn and show that the Council had listened to residents:
I have expressed my concerns as to how the scrapping of the weekly service and the proposed £40 charge for a reduced service has been presented. The latest leaflet delivered to residents continues to provide misleading and incomplete information.
I am disappointed that the misleading information produced by the Council and Veolia has continued. Please treat this email as a formal complaint on the following grounds:
I object to a reduced and chargeable service to be described as 'New' as if it was something positive when in fact residents are being asked to pay £40 for a substantially reduced service with collections just fortnightly during the summer and just monthly during the winter months.
On a separate issue I note that the leaflet is also advertising the 'Free' collection of bulky household items. This confirms the sham of the current budget consultation as the item to charge £15 for this service in the hope of a massive reduction in take up is just a 'sham' as this was put on the list simply to enable the Leader to claim later that this is one service "I have managed to save".
I think that the Council (officers and councillors) are showing a great deal of disrespect to Brent residents in the misleading way you are communicating with them. The leaflets are paid for from taxpayers money and should therefore provide honest information and not to reflect misleading information from the Labour Administration.