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Poll: Haringey Council blasted for ‘spending too little’ on bin collections

Overflowing bins pictured in Milton Avenue, Highgate, last year. Overflowing bins pictured in Milton Avenue, Highgate, last year.

Thursday, July 3, 2014
4:56 PM

Haringey Council must spend more on refuse collections to get the service residents deserve, critics have said, as it is revealed that the authority has cut funding by more than 75 per cent over five years.

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Year-on-year spending on waste collection per head

2007/08: £60.63

2008/09: £55.08

2009/10: £35.86

2010/11: £31.45

2011/12: £13.38

2012/13: £13.62

The council is accused of letting standards slip in a desperate bid to balance its books in the face of savage government cuts.

Figures reveal it has slashed spending on domestic waste collection from about £60 per person in 2007/8, above the London average, to just over £13 by 2012/13. It took on a new contractor, Veolia, in 2011 and reduced domestic collections from weekly to fortnightly a year later.

Cllr Gail Engert, Lib Dem spokesman for the urban environment, said the council is spending too little to provide an adequate service and it should revert to weekly bin collections in areas where rubbish is piling up.

She said: “I constantly hear complaints about bins overflowing and dumping across the borough. I really think they need to get a handle on how to deal with rubbish. I think it smacks of bad council service.

“You only get what you pay for. If you’re not paying enough obviously you’re not going to get the service.”

The figures were compiled by the Audit Commission and reveal Haringey’s spending on domestic waste collection was the fourth-lowest of any borough in the city.

The amount spent on collecting people’s rubbish took a dive in 2011/12, which coincided with the council signing a new waste contract with Veolia.

Green Party activist Sarah Cope, who lives in Highgate, said: “The bins will often be overflowing in my estate and we have to phone repeatedly for them to come and collect them.

“It’s not a great service and if they are cutting corners in terms of how much they’re spending on the service that is why we’re seeing things like this.”

But Haringey Council defended themselves against the allegations.

A spokesman said: “We’re committed to a first-class refuse and recycling service that boosts recycling rates and helps make Haringey London’s greenest borough.

“Complaints about refuse collection have fallen consistently since our contract with Veolia began three years ago, which has saved the council more than £2million each year in the face of significant government cuts.

“A range of performance targets are included in the contract, and through regular meetings we are always exploring ways in which we can continue to improve our service.”

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