Labour votes down bins peace move

July 6, 2016 10:50 PM

At the meeting of Newcastle City Council meeting tonight, the 34 Labour members present voted down a motion to take the bins chaos to arbitration proposed by the Liberal Democrats. Apart from the responsible Cabinet member, Cllr Kemp, only one Labour council spoke, claiming that people in his ward accept their bins not being emptied when they understand why the situation has arisen (he and Cllr Kemp vigorously deny it's a "dispute". If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...)

Proposing the motion, Cllr Robin Ashby said that the collection of waste bins in Newcastle has been in chaos for nearly three months now.

As the Labour Administration seems to be paralysed about what to do, tonight we propose that the Council quickly seeks arbitration, discussion, conciliation, whatever you care to call it, by an outside body.

The alternative of reverting to the previous system seems unlikely, so we don't suggest it.

But doing nothing is not an option.

At the moment, the situation seems akin to that under a previous Labour Prime Minister, Jim Callaghan, during the Winter of Discontent, when the bins went unemptied and the dead unburied, while all he could say was "Crisis? What crisis?" And that's all we've been hearing from the Labour Cabinet about the disasterous implementation of their cunning plan.

Almost every day since 21st April we've had an update on the Council's website on more uncollected bins - so much so that there's now a red flash on the front page, showing off Labour's shame to the world on what should be a primary shop window for this Council.

When I looked this morning, it was to see that GREEN domestic bins had been missed in Fawdon, Kenton, West Gosforth and Woolsington wards

BLUE recycling bins - the ones through which we are trying to encourage local people to recycle and reduce landfill - had been missed in the previous wards plus Castle.

The BROWN garden waste bins - the ones for which people are paying a premium in addition to their Council Tax - seem to have been picked up in Woolsington but missed in the other 4.

Last Friday one sort of bin or another had been missed in Blakelaw, Elswick, East Gosforth, Fenham, Walker, Walkergate, West Gosforth, Westgate and Wingrove.

Every day in a ward represented by councillors here tonight, one or more bin collection is missed.

My own ward of Parklands is not on these particular rollcalls, but overflowing bulk bins at sheltered accommodation have been missed out several times. Other speakers might add to this catalogue of incompetence, including problems with assisted lifts.

There are two sorts of costs being paid. The loss of reputation by Labour is one I can live with. But the impact on the lives of our constituents cannot be ignored, nor their completely justified contempt for an administration that can't even do one simple thing. They are rightly angry at the additional costs - up to £5,000 a week to the Council for weekend emptying, and the £20 they are paying for a brown bin service which the Council isn't providing adequately.

Our streetscapes are littered with bins left out in the hope of collection on another day, and sometimes by windblown litter from bins that have been overfilled - which is happening when collections cannot be relied upon.

I understand that Labour councillors aren't any too happy either, so feel free to represent your constituents out loud tonight, and to support this straightforward motion for action on rather than neglect of the problem.

In debate, accused of "misrepresenting the reality of the situation", Cllr Ashby responded that the bins aren't emptied when they should be and when people expect them, and arguing about the meaning of words was meaningless when the situation had rumbled on for nearly 3 months. Far from the Liberal Democrats running down the City, it is Labour that's doing that by its poor performance.

It was later remarked that most Labour councillors seemed to be sitting in sullen silence. Such is the power of their Whips!