Dec 19 2016

Susan Says: Where’s my Christmas garden tax rebate?

susan_hall_3Where’s my Christmas garden tax rebate?

Just when I think I’ve heard it all, this Labour-run Council comes up with yet another ridiculous idea.

Labour wax lyrical about the ‘success’ of their Brown bin charge. In reality, it has been nothing short of an absolute mess. There have been far less sign-ups than expected, plenty of missed collections and wasted time and resources.

This week, many Harrow residents received the usual leaflet containing next year’s bin collection dates. This leaflet has the surprise addition of a New Year’s sale. The leaflet states that for January only, there is 10% off both the summer and annual services from April 2017. The service is clearly not going well for Labour!

How short-sighted and unfair. What about those 13,000 households that already signed up for the annual service? And the 14,000 that already signed up to this summer’s service? Will they be receiving a garden tax rebate?
It’s Christmas time and this money could go a long way towards gifts for loved ones.

For a £4 summer garden tax rebate, you could treat someone to a box of Quality Street.

And for those who are owed £7.50 annual garden tax rebate, you could not only treat yourself to some mince pies but also treat the kids to a Lego City Garbage Truck Mini Set.

Then the whole family can be happy and perhaps even your bins will be collected!

Will this Labour administration act fairly and wish a Merry Christmas to the current subscribers of the garden tax and give those residents a rebate?

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  1. Shambhu Gupta

    Can someone make sense of what Susan Hall is saying in her piece? Her political life begins and ends with the issue of Brown Bin collection . As I understand it is a special promotion by the Council to sign up people in January, a discount has been offered to all for next year. So Susan sign early for next year. It is not about last year. You do not get discount on the Pies you ate last year.

    1. Harry New Year

      My dear Shambles, what is there not to understand? Those who paid full price for the annual service are now finding that for at least part of their ‘contract’, those who pay now can get a discount. Also Rosalyn makes a very good point about qualifying for the discount – Labour certainly know how to make already angry residents even more angry.

      Refuse collection is a basic local service, probably the first thing anyone thinks of when considering what the council does for us and Labour are making a complete mess of it, and charging us for the pleasure. BTW I’m not a Tory supporter but they are infinitely preferable to Lousy Labour.

  2. Someonewhocares

    (‘Unaccustomed as I am’ at defending SH’s views) I will at least try, and in spite of her “Brown Bin obsession”, but it is simply one of her ‘I told you so’ moments,

    The ‘Special Promotion’ offered is because there has been -as she predicted- insufficient take-up to make it financially viable, In this respect a mere 10% reduction will also be insufficient to ‘attract the crowds’ too, and this also an insult indeed to those ‘early adopters’ who already signed up at full price (as anyone with sufficient commercial acumen will tell you too.)

    Similarly have you noticed that many of our pavements and roads are covered with slimy and dangerous decomposing leaves? In the past many residents have swept these up in Autumn and put them in their brown bin, Many now don’t do that because we would thus, in effect, be charged £70 p.a. to do the Council’s work for them – and so this is another ‘false economy’ of course!

  3. John Nickolay

    The brown bin arrangement has been something akin to a disaster, part of which is what “someonewhocares” says about disposing of autumn leaves. The mess we have had along our roads, plus food dropped from collections of the black bins, is atrocious and can be dangerous for the elderly or injured who try to avoid slipping.

    For those of us who have felt obliged to pay for a brown bin the fortnightly collection has been inadequate (particularly during the Spring and Autumn) when there is a lot of vegetation that cannot be rotted on the compost heap and easily fills the bin.

    Another problem arises for those of us who have a grass verge in our road and used to dispose of all the grass cuttings (and dog poo) left behind by putting them in a brown bin after the Council have attempted to cut the grass. We used to rake it up and put it in the brown bin but this has not been possible because fortnightly collection is inadequate Harrow Council ought to give us a fair deal and collect the brown bins weekly.

  4. red mirror

    like the pr photo susan much better well done

  5. Yola Mac

    I paid my 2nd £75 brown bin collection fee at the end of Oct. unwilling of course but have no choice because I live surrounded by + 31 trees. I am so distressed and frustrated with my brown bin not being collected for the whole month in November and once only in December despite numerous calls and emails because of the incompetence of the staff working there. I have asked if they could refund me or extend my collection date for 2017 but to date no reply from the council. Again why should I pay for a service not being delivered I feel I am defrauded by the council. The BLACK FOOD BIN IS A HEALTH HAZARD. When one goes away and the black bin is not put out for collection because of fear it will spill on the street leaving it there for a few days/wks, when you get back it is FULL OF WORMS/MAGGOTS !! Disgusting. Have the council nothing else to do except to think how to extract more money from residents!! Who ever thought of this have not thought to cons in initiating this kind hazard both health and environmentally.

    1. Someonewhocares

      Just copy all your requests to your Councillors Yola. Perhaps if would also help if you sent a copy to Highways and explained that by collecting all those leaves you are preventing them from causing floods when they wash into the drains and block them? If all that fails send a note to the leaders too!

      Yes, those Black Bins are another mistake – especially as foxes know how to open them….

      Sadly lots of these Council initiatives are down to ‘TJDNTIT’
      – They Just Did Not Think It Through

  6. Rosalyn

    According to the councils tweet on the subject “You can claim a 10% discount online when paying by Direct Debit – all other methods are full price, so please make sure you pick DD”

    Funny it doesn’t mention Direct Debit anywhere on the leaflet…..how many complaints is this going to create when people who do pay in January don’t get their discount?! That’s if they can get through on the phones of course.

  7. Papajo

    The January discount of 10% first came to my attention via. the 2017 collection calendar. Subsequently I have seen adverts on various council notice boards.

    And now today the postie delivered a garden waste envelope along with our other mail. I presume all households in Harrow received this notice? So I wonder how much that cost????

  8. Linda Robinson

    Papajo, I don’t know how much it cost to produce the latest missive, but what I do know is that six copies of it came through my letterbox, each in its separate envelope with a colour image of a brown bin. I don’t think they were delivered by the Royal Mail. They don’t have an address on, just “Important information inside”. So it’s potentially cost up to six times more than necessary to improve on the last lot of notifications which didn’t make it clear about the direct debit requirements, as reported at http://www.harrowtimes.co.uk/news/15020057._It_is_totally_wrong_and_misleading____Harrow_woman_s_warning_over_new_council_scheme/.
    I would never pay to have them take my garden waste away, and I would certainly never pay the council anything by direct debit. So it’s a complete waste of money for them to try persuading me in this profligate way. Yola’s story shows how exasperating it would be to get hooked into these arrangements. Next time, Yola, just say no! Look how you’ve been diddled. Why would you allow yourself to be treated so abominably a second time?
    Shambhu, you are quite wrong to criticise Susan Hall for her stand on this. Like Someonewhocares and Harry, I don’t relish sticking up for the Tories but we should all get behind their exposure of this brown bin debacle. According to the minutes of Harrow’s Performance and Finance Scrutiny Sub-Committee on 07 December (available at http://www.harrow.gov.uk/www2/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=64000&x=1), “there was already a £1.3m variation from the first two quarters for waste management”, there were “incorrect assumptions including the take up of the brown bin service, reduction in recycling figures, fly tipping, and the rising cost of residual waste”, “route optimisation had resulted in much less saving as residents had been opting in and out of the service and the technology had not been successful”, “26,000 residents had signed up for the garden waste scheme which was approximately £500,000 down against income target” and “there was a need to improve forecasting particularly with regard to revenue and cost implications”.
    It’s exactly what we all told them before they started, including Susan, so she deserves her “I told you so” moment. It’s cost council tax payers a lot of money that could have been spent on something that would really benefit people. Remember last year when they announced that Harrow would have the top recycling rate for London in 2017. They’ve gone quiet about that. What do you think are the chances of that happening now?

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