Sunday, January 18, 2009

Labour trashes democracy with another rubbish policy

I was furious to read in the Sunday Times today this article about how the government has slipped through a measure giving councils the power to levy a £100 rubbish tax in a clause in the Climate Change bill.

The idea is to tax anyone who leaves out too much rubbish, particularly rubbish which cannot be recycled.

This new bin tax has been condemned by the Conservatives, and rightly so. It has not been thought through and will be unfair and counter-productive.

It is outrageous that if you get a lot of unsolicited mail, possibly because a previous resident of your house was on a lot of mailing lists, you should have to pay to dispose of it.

And let's think what the practical results are going to be.

People don't like paying tax. There are at least two obvious ways to get out of paying this one. People will use them.

Unless they start charging people to use municipal rubbish sites, a legal way to avoid the bin tax is to drive to the dump to get rid of your rubbish. Result, more car journeys, more congestion, more carbon released into the atmosphere, more damage to the environment.

And if they do start charging for household refuse disposal site, some people will start using the second and illegal option, which is fly-tipping. Result, more car journeys, more congestion, more carbon released into the atmosphere, rubbish and litter cluttering up the countryside, and much more damage to the environment.

My main objection to this is the stupidity of the policy itself, and my second objection is that having to pay bin taxes, when the recession is making money very scarce, it is yet another kick in the teeth for law-abiding families and individuals who play things by the rules.

Neither is it particularly democratic to have hidden this measure in an obscure clause of the Climate Change bill.

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