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Gordon Brown's bin tax? Just say no.

Pickleseric Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has written the following letter to Conservative councillors urging them no to sign up to Labour's bin tax

Dear Colleague,
Further to my email in June, I just wanted to write to update you on the Labour Government's plans to levy new bin taxes on family homes.

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.

The Government's own impact assessment has predicted that, in due course, two out of three homes will face the new taxes. It is clear that if Labour were to win the general election, families across the country will be hit with these stealth taxes, on top of council tax.

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.

These 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.

As the recent Manchester congestion charge referendum showed, voters do not want to pay new stealth taxes at a time when millions face losing their jobs. This is just another cynical Labour attempt to tax
families more by stealth, but with a thick coat of greenwash. The Government should be working instead with councils to help extend recycling collections, and make it easier for all households to go green. There is certainly a role for incentives, but not for new taxes or new charges. Councils should also be properly compensated for the new burdens imposed on them by Whitehall and from EU directives.

A survey by the Press Association last week of one hundred councils indicated that not one council has so far volunteered to participate in the pilots for the new taxes.

However, I am sure that Labour Ministers will now desperately be trying to entice your chief executive into signing up to the bin tax pilot scheme. They will attempt to lure Conservative councils into supporting the Government's deeply unpopular tax plans. I hope you would agree that every Conservative councillor has a key role to play in defending families from these taxes, and you will fight to stop your council officers dragging you into the political suicide of backing new taxes during a recession.


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