Why charging for garden waste uplift is a tax on the poorest. It’s a bad idea, but what’s the alternative?

brown bin

Steve Cardownie is correct when he notes how unpopular the proposal to charge for the collection of garden waste is amongst Edinburgh residents. However, whilst he and Cllr Cathy Fullerton may both feel “tough decisions will have to be made”, I do wonder if both nationalists feel the same should apply to their party’s actions in Holyrood? I assume that as members of the SNP, both back the cuts their party’s elite have been imposing on Scotland’s capital rather than make “tough decisions” like richest Scots tio pay a fair rate of tax?

When it comes to charging for garden waste, I don’t know anyone that doubts that this will result in more fly-tipping,  the return of garden bonfires and the misuse of the other waste streams. Before anyone shrugs their shoulders at this, I know from work I have undertaken in Belfast that fly-tipped garden waste makes a significant contribution to culvert blockages, and so increases flood risk.

There are many that argue, however, that charging for garden waste collection is “fair” as many people in Edinburgh don’t have gardens and so should not be subsidising those that do. That’s an argument that does not hold water. It takes us down the road where only those with children in school pay for education, or where only those who are ill pay for the NHS. No thanks!

The demographic nobody talks about in this debate, not least Steve Cardownie, are people on low incomes. The SNP Government are already forcing the City to raise the most regressive tax (Council Tax) because they won’t use the most progressive tax (income tax). On top of that, are we seriously suggesting that people who are struggling to feed and clothe their children should pay £25 to have their hedge clippings collected? Why should the poorest pay the same as the richest? Why should the many subsidise the few?

That’s why I think this proposal should be binned, but the alternative can’t be to cut something else instead. The alternative must be for the SNP Government to fairly fund Scotland’s capital. The alternative is real change.

Whether you agree or disagree with me, please take part in the  Budget Consultation.


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