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Waste authority to increase levy for first time in six years

The Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA) is proposing to increase the levy on its five collection authorities by 1% this year, and expects increases in the next two years of 3.25% and 7.7%.

It has not increased the levy for six years but insists that it cannot maintain the trend.

The current levy on the five district councils of Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral in the current year is £65,591,098. The proposed levy, to be discussed at an authority meeting on 5 February, is £66,247,014, an increase of £655,915.

The levy is apportioned on the basis of waste tonnage, which is then incorporated into each district’s council tax calculation.

The MRWA says it can no longer meet a deficit between the overall budget and the levy by raiding its balances or taking a contribution from the authority’s wholly owned company, Mersey Waste Holdings Limited.

It warns that the Sita Sembcorp UK partnership, which involves the construction of an energy-from-waste plant in Redcar and a rail transfer station in Knowsley, will ultimately save on landfill tax bills but will bring added costs in the first two years of the scheme – hence the likelihood of two larger increases after the coming financial year.

The overall 1% increase in 2016-17 affects individual districts differently, varying from a 4% rise for Sefton to an 8.6% reduction for St Helens.

A number of savings on the revenue budget totalling £500,000 are also recommended for approval:

  • HWRC changes: £316k
  • Withdrawing textile recycling credits: £48k
  • Closing a visitor centre: 30k
  • Apprentices programme: £60k
  • 50% cut in education and awareness work: £25k
  • Reuse scheme (current budget £70k): £25k

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