Monday, January 5, 2009

Say No to new Bin Taxes

At the end of November, laws which allow the Government to impose new charges for household rubbish collections received Royal Assent. Ministers have confirmed that the Office of National Statistics will classify these new charges as a tax. Although bin taxes will be trialled in a series of so-called pilots, the small print of the legislation allows the Secretary of State to roll out and impose the taxes on all local authorities by Order, without any vote in Parliament.

The Government’s own impact assessment has predicted that, in due course, two out of three homes will face the new taxes.

Official technical documents reveal that the bin taxes will take one of four forms:
• Bin bag tax: Households must pay for special bin bags. Rubbish not placed in a paid-for bag will not be collected.
• Bin size tax: Households will be charged for the size of their bin; with families requiring a bigger bin paying the most.
• Weekly collection tax: Households needing a weekly rubbish collection will pay an extra charge.
• Bin chip tax: Households will receive a bill based on the weight of the contents of their bin, with microchips in the bin feeding through to a central billing database.

Yes we need to do more to encourage less landfilling, but when it comes to consumers this needs to be through carrots rather than sticks - for example by making it easier to recycle. And the biggest part of the solution needs to come from manufacturers and suppliers reducing waste and packaging levels, which is out of the direct control of consumers.

Labour's planned new bin taxes will increase taxes on families (who already tend to pay higher council taxes); will raise the overall tax burden due to the costs of levying and enforcing a new tax; and will harm the environment by fuelling fly-tipping and backyard burning.

Indeed, the Government has stated that civic amenity sites will remain free for household waste. This will lead to the bizarre situation of families being encouraged to drive to their local dump, adding to congestion and carbon emissions, to avoid higher taxes.

If Labour were to win the general election, in their usual style they will probably just force these changes on families across the country regardless of decisions by local Councillors, but if there is anything I can be doing locally to oppose these charges in Cambridge, then I will be opposing them.

1 comment:

Richard Taylor said...

The thin end of the wedge may be about to arrive in Cambridge. The Council are proposing to purchase on vehicle weighing technology for their waste collection trucks. A council officer has commented on my website to say the weighing equipment is intended only for use on the council’s trade waste collection vehicles.