Taxpayers might be in for a scare as a recent article reveals that landfill charges are set to cost local taxpayers almost three-quarters of a billion pounds next year.
These charges were revealed according to a new analysis carried out by the Local Government Association (LGA), the inflation busting 11% automatic increase set by the Government is being imposed despite the amount of household waste being sent to landfill by councils continuing to fall for the tenth year in a row and the country on course to meet it European environmental targets.
The LGA called upon the chancellor to use the Budget to cap landfill tax and stop siphoning council taxpayer’s money to fill the black hole in Treasury’s books.
Councils can simply not afford to continue with these rate rises and it is clear that it is residents who will suffer as the money they contribute towards local services are diverted away from filling potholes and caring for the elderly to cover up the cost of disposing of waste.
The landfill tax was originally introduced in 1996 to encourage councils and the private sector to reduce the amount of waste they were sending to landfill, this was done to meet the tough European environmental objectives. However, since 2008, the rate rises introduces by both the previous Government and the Coalition will have increased the cost per tonne from £24 to an eye-water £80, therefore increasing the amount councils have to pay out by a quarter of a billion in just five years.
Over the past 10 years councils have worked hard alongside their residents to reduce the amount of rubbish being sent to landfill, this resulted in a 42% decrease. Is it not time for the Government to recognise these achievements and instead of punishing local authorities with higher rates help them with recycling?
Chair of the LGA’s Environment and Housing Board, Councillor Mike Jones, said:
“We recycle more than 43 per cent of our household waste in this country compared to just 10 per cent a decade ago. We are clearly on course to reach our European target of 50 per cent by 2020 and so landfill charges are an unnecessary cost imposed by central government. Further increases beyond 2014/15 would not be fair for councils which have worked so hard to get communities recycling or for the cash strapped residents who have to pick up the bill.”
“Since central government started collecting the money generated through landfill tax they will have almost quadrupled the charge from £24 to £80 a tonne. This equates to almost six times the average rate of inflation, yet none of this extra money is being invested in developing our waste infrastructure or helping us hit our recycling targets.”
He finished by saying:
“Over the last decade we have seen a radical shift in our approach to what we throw away and this is largely due to councils to making it easier for residents to sort and dispose of everything from plastic bottles and tin cans to TVs and fridges, even disposable nappies. Landfill tax has played its part in encouraging us all to recycle, but any further increases would be misguided. The Government should be working with councils to help get the costs down, which would free up money to invest in the facilities that are needed to reduce the amount we send to landfill.”