Monday, 5 May 2014

Stoke council to close its recycling centres for two days a week.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is to close its two main recycling centres for two days each week to save £50,000 a year.

The tips in Burslem and Stoke will close on, respectively, Wednesdays and Thursdays and Mondays and Tuesdays.

Speaking to the local press council officials said the closures were part of the £20million in spending cuts to be made over 2014/15 as a result of government austerity policies.

At the same time the council is recruiting extra staff to deal with an ongoing problem with fly-tipping. The four new members of staff will target areas of the city most at risk from illegally dumped rubbish.

Speaking to the Sentinel Andy Platt, cabinet member for environmental issues said ‘we’d like to keep both sites open all week, but we haven’t been given the money by the government to do everything we used to do.’

This latest of what seems like a thousand cuts highlights much of the flawed thinking going on inside the Civic Centre about where to make cuts.

As on so many occasions the cut to services seems to be counter-productive to say the least, the £50,000 saved will count for little if extra staff have to be engaged to deal with an epidemic of fly-tipping.

Closing recycling centres for two days a week also seems to fly in the face of attempts to make Stoke into a greener city; that would suggest creating more opportunities to recycle not less.

What will anger local people most though is the apparent lack of clear priorities when it comes to spending. The council have committed £1.2million to a doomed attempt to bring HS2 to the city and yet can’t keep a vital service open.

Attempts to blame the partial closure of recycling centres, along with many of the other spending cuts on ‘government cuts’ to which the council has no response other than to cut everything in sight is wearing thin to the point of transparency.

A sceptical and increasingly restive electorate may not be convinced that the gains made, if any, have been worth the pain incurred in the name of balancing the books when they go to the polls in less than a year’s time.
Politics Forum, Monday 5th May 2014

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