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Westminster Column - Refuse Strike


Good wishes from Rwanda where I am currently on the Conservative Party Social Action Project - Project Umubano. I am accompanied by 80 conservatives from all across the Party including Councillor Alex Yip and Councillor Andrew Hardie from the Royal Town. I am teaching English to secondary school teachers of English. Alex is helping incubate entrepreneurs and teaching business ethics while Dr Hardie is teaching medicine and curing the sick.

Nevertheless I am in constant touch with the Royal Town and trying to tackle current issues including the appalling failure of Birmingham City Council to collect our rubbish and recycling. The situation is unacceptable and dire. Residents are being treated appallingly by the Labour-controlled Birmingham City Council. When I left my home in Sutton at the weekend every bin and recycling bin on the road was full. We are paying for a service which is simply not being delivered.

Your local Conservative Councillors are working very hard to try to resolve the situation but the Labour led administration at Birmingham City Council has mismanaged the waste collection service for such a long time that the problem is significantly more difficult than it need have been. This has not only prevented collection of waste on the designated strike days but has also had ‘knock on’ effects which are resulting in missed collections on other days.

Indeed, Birmingham’s productivity (bins collected per hour) is lower than other large cities (Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham and Leeds) who work with comparable or lower rates of central government funding per head.

Even the Union leadership acknowledges that the problems with the service are attributed to mismanagement of resources locally rather than reduction in central government funding.

Councillor Alex Yip is to be commended for the petition he has raised in this respect and for the work he has been doing in the Royal Town even as he works hard here in Rwanda. Birmingham City Council has at last issued assurances that they are now well into a recovery plan to address the backlog of waste caused by the ongoing industrial dispute and have visited two-thirds of the city's 8,200 streets. The aim is to have dealt with all outstanding collections by the end of this week with a view to more regular collections being introduced.
Consideration must now be given to a rebate on Council Tax, the prompt resumption of a decent and effective waste service and an apology for the Council’s failure to handle this issue effectively or in a timely manner. END



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Project Umubano

Rwanda Social Action Project

Click on image to download the Kigali Declaration and the 10 Year Report.