Free bulky waste collections for over 65s could be scrapped

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

The borough could begin charging over 65s for collections of bulky waste in a bid to generate more income for the cash-strapped council.

At a meeting of Slough council on Tuesday, Richard West, executive director of customer and community, gave a presentation of savings that could be made.

It is potentially looking at a reduction in street cleaning, moving from 34 operatives down to 23, with a reduction in vans, sweepers and litter picks.

“It would require us to think about fly-tipping differently,” Mr West said. “We would revert to response teams rather than a dedicated crew.”

He said he thought it was a good idea to maintain ‘barrow beats’, as seeing someone out with a barrow appears to deter littering.

A more controversial proposal involves scrapping free bulky waste collections for those aged 65+ or in receipt of personal independence payments.

For everyone one else, prices are proposed to increase from £30 to £51 for three items and from £50 to £85 for five. Those eligible can currently get up to three collections a year free of charge.

Mr West highlighted that the only neighbouring local authority that does this is Hillingdon. Others offer a discounted rate instead.

“50 per cent of our bulky waste collections are currently free,” he said. “In the past, we have been very generous, and we can no longer afford to be so generous.”

Cllr Harjinder Minhas (Lab & Co-Op, Langley St Mary's) raised concerns over the prospect of scrapping the free collections in favour of a £10 discount, as proposed.

“[It] just doesn’t seem enough,” she said. “There are people who genuinely can’t afford it.”

Mr West said he felt that currently the structure was being ‘abused’ by too many and Slough council at least needed to tighten up its criteria – perhaps calculating need based on ability to pay rather than age.

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