Obscene price hike is discriminating

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In over eleven years of living in Ashfield it grieves me that I feel forced to make my first complaint re Ashfield District Council.

Although I have yet to be informed I have just read of the plans to greatly increase the price of the Garden Waste Scheme. (GWS)

I wish to complain on two points:

1. Whilst I realise that the scheme has been running to one degree or another for some years without an increase 30% is an obscene amount. Given that this is a money making scheme, covering more than costs when recycling income and grants are taken into consideration, why such a large rise to £26.00?

Given that ADC tells us that we are all in this age of cuts together it is criminal that you are using this service simply to raise revenue; which a 30% rise is.

The service itself is welcome but, if you are honest, ADC would not run this, non-statutory, service unless it was to make money; it certainly would not have run it this long without an increase otherwise. Given how much ADC has either earnt or saved (by using the resultant compost themselves) making a 30% increase unnecessary and simply greedy, especially coming from a supposedly socialist controlled council. Even if it was voted for before the May local elections you have had plenty of chance to overturn it.

2. Why has ADC decided to discriminate against everyone who does pay by direct debit, by charging them an extra 18% (£4.00) for the same service?

Given the area in which we live there are a lot of households who may need and can just afford this service but, for many innocent reasons, do not have a bank account. Yet ADC has decided to punish them. I am lucky in that I have a bank account and prefer direct debit but, being a true socialist and, I hope, caring person I am willing to stand up for those who are being discriminated against. In some cases you are making the poor pay more than those slightly better off.

The foreward to the ADC Corporate Equality Plan includes the following:

“We want Ashfield to be a place where no-one experiences discrimination or disadvantage because of their level of deprivation or where they live”

How is the above met by this discrimination policy and why should people be discriminated against for simply not wanting to pay by direct debit?

Finally we are constantly hearing government, at various levels, complaining about unfair, discriminatory charging by departments and companies such as power and banks and yet here we have a Local Authority, rather than setting an example, leading the way with and unfair charge and collection method of it’s own.

Whilst I realise that under the current Westminster Government, local government is undergoing a bashing you must not try to equalise things in cowardly ways such as this. Both ADC members and officers are in post by choice, the former through the will of local people, and if you cannot balance the books openly and honestly then please feel free to move aside and let someone in who can.

My wish therefore is that the increase, being unneccessary, is cancelled or, at least dropped to a morally decent amount of say 5% (£1) to £21.00 and the discrimination against non direct debt payers be removed completely.

Bill Sands

Via email