WALTHAM FOREST: Traders attack hike in waste collection charges (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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WALTHAM FOREST: Traders attack hike in waste collection charges
BUSINESSES have attacked a huge hike in the price the council charges to collect commercial waste.
From this Friday (October 1) the cost for traders to use the authority's rubbish service will increase by as much as 232 per cent, depending on what type of bin they have.
By law, all businesses must use a registered firm or local authority to dispose of their rubbish, leading some embattled traders to accuse the council of holding them to ransom.
There are also concerns that the hike could lead to an increase in fly-tipping.
But Waltham Forest Council said that the heavily subsidised service is currently operating at a predicted £440,000 deficit this year, and that the new prices will ensure waste collection is self-financing in future.
However Tony Kutner, owner of Cut to Size DIY store in Palmerston Road, Walthamstow, said many independent shops would suffer.
He said: “At the moment I pay £52 a quarter but it's going up to £143 plus VAT, so it'll be a rise of more than triple.
“The council's attitude seems to be take it or leave it, but most shops are really struggling at the moment. We've had the double whammy of the recession and a huge rise in business rates.
“I just don't see how they can justify it.”
Debby Salmon, manager of music shop Sounds Electric in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, said her shop had been using the council's waste collection service for 20 years, but would be cancelling the contract at the end of the month.
She said: “It's because of their attitude more than anything. We've arranged to have a private company come and collect our waste and not only is it cheaper but they're far more flexible too.”
When Ms Salmon wrote to the council to complain about missed collections, she was even sent an email by a council officer recommending she sign up with private waste management firm Bywaters instead.
The council's cabinet member for the environment, Cllr Clyde Loakes, said: “This has come about because it's been brought to my attention that this is a significant subsidy that we give to businesses which far exceeds the subsidy we give to residents.
“To be frank it's simply untenable to have such a subsidy in the current financial climate.
“When you compare our rates to other providers we are far behind them. In most cases this will be a rise from £10 a month to £30, which is a bit more of a realistic rate.
“If people don't want to be with the council they can clearly be with those other providers.”
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