The new Labour leader of Brighton council has said the Green Party’s record on recycling contributed to it losing control of the council.
The Greens lost nine seats and minority control to Labour, which held 23 seats after voting which took place on the same day as the general election.
Labour leader Warren Morgan was critical of the Greens’ recycling record during the previous term.
“Successful councils inform, encourage and enforce recycling in their areas, but the Greens took their eye off the ball in the belief that it was something everyone did as a matter of course,” said Morgan.
“That Brighton and Hove plummeted down the league table in terms of recycling performance became totemic of the failure of the Green Party on an issue that most people would expect them to excel.”
But according to Green councillor Pete West, “savage” funding cuts imposed by the coalition Government, coupled with the inability to increase council taxes, made it difficult to improve recycling services.
He maintained they also suffered from national performance indicators, which include green [garden] waste. Brighton, as an urban area, would tend to be lower.
“Our recycling levels were certainly lower than we would have liked and suffered from the bin strikes,” said West.
“The bin strikes were really about our need to address historic gender inequalities in pay and allowances between some council services employing mostly women and others employing mostly men. Previous Labour and Conservative administrations had put off fully dealing with this through fears of strike action.
“We did resolve the issue fairly, and bin workers were generously compensated for any lost pay in bringing them into line with other council staff.”
Morgan maintained that although the industrial action lasted a number of weeks, it did not account for the four-year decline in recycling rates.