Report to parishes January 2013
From District Councillors Sue Carpendale and Kathy Pollard
Increasing income from waste recycling
Babergh and Mid Suffolk have a joint contract for waste disposal. Councillors have been working with officers to look at further ways of making the necessary budget savings in the coming years. One of the suggestions has been to encourage residents to recycle more than they do at present, in order to generate extra income. Just to provide a bit of context for you, Here are a few basic facts and figures:
- Suffolk County Council are responsible for waste disposal and currently we throw away about 135,000 tonnes of residual waste across the county a year into landfill. This costs about £100 per tonne, and equates to £13.5m per year
- Suffolk County Council pay the Districts and Boroughs about £55 per tonne for recycling
- All Suffolk Districts and Boroughs recycle about 55,000 tonnes of dry recyclate and 65,000 tonnes of organic waste.
- The total waste stream is therefore 135,000 + 55,000 + 65,000 = 245,000 tonnes. 1% of the waste stream would therefore be 2,450 tonnes.
- If we collectively improved our recycling efforts by 1%, removing 2,450 tonnes from the ‘dirty’ bin into one of the recycling bins it would produce a saving to the whole of the County of £245,000 (split between Suffolk County Council and the waste collection authorities).
- Mid Suffolk and Babergh’s proportion of the 1% improvement would be about £30,000 – not an insignificant amount.
So you can see from the above that a 1% improvement in our collective recycling efforts across the whole of the County would result in a £245,000 saving. We want to develop a campaign across Suffolk that encourages people to recycle more, thereby allowing that saving to be used for other purposes. Just a 1% improvement seems so small but would make such a difference. Improving the take up of textile recycling would also provide additional income.
Information about Babergh’s waste collection service
We have mentioned previously that we are trying to provide more information electronically, so that people don’t need to phone the council. Currently the waste service alone receives 8,000 calls per month.
When there are adverse weather conditions collections are sometimes disrupted and people ring to find out when their bins will be collected. The answer is always to leave your bin out and crews will collect them when they can. A new phone system is being put in place which can automatically give out this information, instead of staff having to repeat it over and over. More information on the Babergh website: www.babergh.gov.uk
Applying for benefits online
Many Babergh residents don’t realise that they can apply for council tax benefit and rent relief online. Ipswich Borough council have been encouraging their residents to apply for benefits online and the take up is substantially higher than Babergh or Mid Suffolk. Apparently when people call in at their customer contact centre at the Corn Exchange they show them how to fill in the forms online.
E-claim forms – percentage submitted electronically in 2013.
IBC = Ipswich Borough Council
BDC = Babergh District Council
MSDC – Mid Suffolk District Council
Early indications re Council Tax
It is likely that Babergh will vote in favour of taking the Government’s equivalent of a 1% council tax increase, or £44,000 in order to maintain a council tax freeze again this year.
This is a more complex decision than it at first appears, because it could be storing up problems for future years. We have been told that within four years all government rate support grant will disappear. Over that same period, if we build new homes, there will be “incentivised” grants – i.e. both a New Homes Bonus (NHB) and a retained portion of any increases in business rates. These will help to compensate for the loss of grant. However, once the six years of NHB payments expire, councils will have no income other than council tax, income from growth in business rates, or money raised through charges. A council tax rise now of less than 2% would cost band D householders approx 5p a week extra, and help to safeguard current and future services.
Council housing rents
These will increase in line with policy, both to ensure delivery of the revenue account business plan and to enable more social housing to be built.