Subscription will ensure scheme continues

CAN I provide some information to the readers who have written recently with regard to North Tyneside Council’s plans for a garden waste subscription service.

I know that current users of the service value the brown bin collection service and that is why the council is keen that it is retained and even expanded.

The £20 annual subscription scheme is a way of ensuring that it continues, rather than it being withdrawn.

We are not alone in seeking to introduce charges – other neighbouring authorities are also introducing the same option, which has arisen because councils no longer have sufficient money to provide free garden waste collection services.

Our offer to residents provides very good value for money. It is equivalent to £1 for each collection and guarantees a regular collection of garden waste between March and November.

This also benefits the borough’s recycling rate, which I am delighted residents have supported so well that North Tyneside is one of the best recyclers in the country.

I would strongly encourage people who want to continue to benefit from the service – or perhaps those who wish to receive the service in the future – to sign up now before the end of November to qualify.

There is information on our website or you can telephone 0345 200 0103.

In the current global economic climate the council, like every other authority in the country, is having to reduce its expenditure by every means possible and some difficult decisions have had to be made.

Much of the council’s finance has to be allocated to statutory services that we have to deliver, for example schools and care for vulnerable children.

Then there are also the universal services that benefit everyone living and working in the borough, such as weekly bin collections, road and highways repairs, and caring for our vulnerable adults which we know from our discussions with the public are a high priority for them.

And then there is a need to allocate money towards ensuring our borough remains a place where people want to live, work and visit – for example to encourage inward investment, regeneration schemes, and maintaining the services and buildings we have.

Following these priorities there is a relatively small pool of discretionary spend that we can focus on to achieve savings, alongside the option of increasing taxes and charges – neither which are things we want to do as councillors.

The council has already turned the spotlight stringently onto itself to ensure it is a much more efficient organisation and that work to remove all inefficiency will continue so that we can continue to deliver affordable services while recognising our responsibility to tax payers.

Making these difficult choices means we have to focus on the delivery of priorities in the interest of the wider population.

Our decisions are in no way designed to penalise hard working residents who do so well to keep our borough as a lovely place to live.

We really appreciate the efforts of every one of our borough’s brilliant gardeners.

ED HODSON

Cabinet Member Responsible for Transport and the Environment