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Council waste collection spending down 21%

bin collections

The National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed reductions in spending on local authority front-line services in England, including a 21% drop in waste collection, during the past eight years.

Its report found that overall spending by all tiers of councils in England fell by more than 19% since 2010-11. Spending on services other than social care or non-schools education fell from around £21bn to less than £15bn.

But although waste collection spending decreased, there was a 9% increase in spending on waste disposal.

Other services identified included a 17% reduction in street cleansing and a 6% reduction in ’recycling and waste minimisation’.

A comment from Larac on social media in response to the report said: “We need a total rethink of how waste services are funded if we want to see high recycling rates.”

As exclusively revealed by MRW, some councils are being forced to alter their kerbside collection services to cut costs, as contracts are renegotiated due to falling material prices.

Authorities have also complained that their expensive waste disposal PFI contracts are preventing them from increasing their recycling rate.

The NAO found that Government funding for local authorities had fallen by an estimated 49.1% in real terms from 2010-11 to 2017-18.

It warned that overspending on services in 2016-17 amounted to £901m, which would need to be “addressed by the use of reserves, making more savings elsewhere or generating extra income”.

The NAO report said the number of households receiving at least a weekly residual collection service reduced by around a third during 2010-11 to 2016-17. During that time, household recycling rates increased by 2.2 percentage points.

Other figures outlined included waste disposed of in landfill, which fell from 43.3% in 2010-11 to 15.7% in 2016-17.

The total number of incidents of fly-tipping between 2010-11 and 2016-17 rose by 22.3%.

In response, the number of investigations increased by 11.2% but the number of enforcement actions during this period reduced by 42.6%.


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