'Political fly-tipping': Sunderland bin row sparks war of words
Changes to bin collections in Sunderland have sparked a war of words between rival councillors.
The move to introduce fortnightly wheelie bin collections across the city has stirred up strong opinions among Echo readers.
Lib Dem city councillor Niall Hodson has slammed the plan, and wants the council to provide larger wheelie bins for families who won't be able to manage with the new fortnightly collections.
He is also campaigning for more regular street cleaning to combat rubbish being left in back lanes, amid fears that an increase in bin bags left next to bins will lead to problems with litter, rats and seagulls .
But his comments were rubbished by Labour councillor Michael Mordey, Portfolio Holder for City Services, who accused his rival of "political fly-tipping at its most blatant."
Coun Hodson, who represents Millfield and Thornholme, said: "Emptying the bins is a basic service that people expect the Council to provide, and with Sunderland Council axing weekly collections people really are wondering what they pay their Council Tax for. If the Council is pressing ahead with the decision then the least it can do is provide larger wheelie bins for families who won't be able to cope with fortnightly collections.
"Areas like Millfield already have a huge problem with litter and dumped rubbish and I fear that this decision will only make this epidemic worse. The Council's fortnightly bin collections and increased costs to collect bulky waste aren't going to help make it easier for people to get rid of rubbish responsibly.
"Once again ruling councillors are making decisions without asking people if they want bin collections cut. To add insult to injury, the same ruling councillors aren't cutting their special responsibility allowances and are still using taxpayers money to pay for free food for councillors after council meetings - surely this spending should be cut before the Council axes regular bin collections?"
But Coun Mordey hit back, saying: "Well, surprise surprise, the predictable manufactured outrage of the Lib Dems’ is clear for all to see – and frankly Coun Hodson’s claims are a load of rubbish!
"If the Lib Dems’ had taken the time to look at the actual details of the policy change they would know the answer to many of the points they have raised.
"You could argue this is political fly tipping at it most blatant.
"As I said to the Echo, the City Council as part of its budget consultation has been speaking to residents about changes to collections for refuse for several years now and will put in place measures to assist large families; all other measures like assisted collections etc. will remain in place.
"The facts are that the Government grant that has been used to support weekly collections runs out on March 31, 2017, and because of the severe cuts to the Council’s Revenue Support Grant from Government, for each of the last six years – we simply don’t have the money to continue with weekly refuse collections.
"It is interesting that Coun Hodson and his Lib Dem colleagues couldn’t bring themselves to shout like they do now during the five years their party was one half of the Coalition Government – that just shows their concern is made purely for political purposes."