Conservatives renege over key election promise to phase out green waste charges, while sneaking out price hikes for anti-waste schemes
Local Liberal Democrat councillors have charged the ruling South Gloucestershire Conservative group with hypocrisy over their failure to rule out green waste charges, despite having made it the key plank of their 2015 election campaign. Far from ending charges, the Conservatives are actually making it more expensive for South Glos residents to reduce the waste they produce – sneaking out hikes in the cost of compost bins (up 20%) and reusable nappy kits (up 13%).
Lib Dem Council Group Leader, Cllr Claire Young said: “The Conservatives came to power in South Gloucestershire in 2015 on the back of a promise to phase out green waste charges. This featured on the front page of their local election manifesto. Back before the last election one Conservative councillor went so far as to suggest that lives would be put at risk if the green waste charge was not scrapped! Yet four years on and the charge is still with us and isn’t even being cut this year, let alone scrapped.
“The Conservatives owe the people of South Gloucestershire an apology for making this flashy and unrealistic promise before the last election, and then failing to deliver on it after four years in power. After this, why should anyone believe what they say going into the local elections this May?”
Lib Dem recycling spokesperson, Cllr Tony Davis said: “To add insult to injury, the Conservatives have just slipped out a raft of price hikes to services designed to help residents reduce waste. Compost bins have gone up in price, making in more expensive for residents to compost at home and avoid the green waste charge. And reusable nappy kits will see a price hike of a whopping £17.40. The risk is that with this extra cost to residents, we will see more unrecyclable disposable nappies going into black bins and being sent off to be incinerated. This is bad for residents and bad for our environment.
“These changes have been slipped through after the Conservatives cancelled the last Council meeting before the election, because there was apparently nothing of importance left to discuss! Local residents have been cheated of their last chance to come along and let the Conservatives know what they think about how they are running the Council.”
Liberal Democrats in South Gloucestershire have had their say after Honda confirmed rumours that its Swindon plant will close, costing 3500 jobs.
Claire Young, Lib Dem candidate for Thornbury and Yate and South Glos Liberal Democrat Group leader, says:
“Brexit has helped deliver another devastating blow for industry in the South West. Our thoughts have to be with the 3500 workers concerned about their futures today, and also for all of those working for suppliers and other businesses reliant on Swindon Honda who are now in a precarious position. This is not about cars or manufacturing, it’s about people’s lives including workers living in South Gloucestershire.Read more
The Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidates in South Gloucestershire are “extending a co-operative hand” to Labour activists and candidates considering their positions after 7 Labour MPs left the party to form a new independent group.Read more
South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats were appalled at last week’s annual budget meeting after the ruling Conservative group voted down a Lib Dem amendment to invest £2million in fixing neglected local estate roads. The plan would have been paid for by making council land available for around 60 units of affordable housing spread over four locations.
Lib Dem group leader, Councillor Claire Young (Westerleigh), said: “There is money in the budget for highways maintenance, but this invariably goes towards A and B roads, leaving the estate roads where most people live to go from bad to worse. This investment wouldn’t just be good for motorists but for everyone who has to use residential roads, including children cycling to school. We are very disappointed that the Conservatives chose to vote down this constructive and costed plan. We had hoped for cross-party consensus but it appears the Conservatives would rather leave our roads in bad repair than risk another party getting credit for fixing them.”
Councillor Louise Harris (Dodington) said: “Providing more investment to repair our neglected estate roads was a key part of my campaign when I was elected to the Council in November. I wasted no time in helping to put together this £2million plan, which would have done exactly that. Sadly the Conservatives chose to play party politics and every single Conservative present voted against the extra money for residential roads. I hope that when local residents go to the polls on May 2nd and see the cracked and potholed state of their roads, they will remember that it was the Conservatives who voted to keep them that way. If the Lib Dems take control of the Council in May, we will bring back these proposals and seek to do more.”
Later this month, South Gloucestershire Council will become one of the first local authorities in the country to completely eliminate single-use cups at its offices. The move follows a successful Liberal Democrat motion to Council last May, which instructed the administration to take action.
Cllr Claire Young, who proposed the original motion, said: “Although it’s taken the administration longer to act than we had originally hoped, we are delighted to see our proposal finally put into action. This move will mean that locally 36,000 fewer unrecyclable cups will be thrown away each year. It may only be a small move in the big scheme of things, but if other local authorities and businesses follow South Gloucestershire’s lead, it could add up to a lot less needless waste.”