A Birmingham Labour MP has called for the council to scrap the controversial ‘garden tax’ claiming it lacks support and credibility.
Richard Burden, MP for Birmingham Northfield is the first senior Labour politician to come out against the council policy which was introduced by the Labour-led council earlier this year.
Following the introduction of the so called ‘garden tax’, there have been reports of widespread fly-tipping across the area.
Homeowners has previously has access to free-for-all grass cutting collection services, but this was removed as part of council cost-cutting measures
In its place, an optional service including a charge of £35 a year was introduced, a move which the council claim saves £2.5 million a year.
Speaking against the ‘garden tax’ policy, Mr Burden said: “No local charging system can work properly if it is not seen to have credibility. Unpopular or not, it needs to command public consent.
Whether because of problems with the organisation of its introduction, the expansion of fly-tipping or congestion at recycling centre, the fact is that in Birmingham green waste charges have not been able to command the public consent achieved in other areas to date.
“I therefore believe the council must change course and my recommendation is that the charge be dropped.”
A city council scrutiny committee is currently conducting an inquiry into the green waste charges but is to improve the service rather than remove the £35 charge
Speaking about the introduction of the paid-for services Cllr Lisa Trickett, cabinet member for a green, smart and sustainable city, said that she had sympathy with Richard Burden and she would work with him to look at alternative solutions.
However Cllr Tricket went on to say: we cannot escape the fact the universal free service was unfair to those without gardens and financially unsustainable as a result of central government cuts imposed upon Birmingham.