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We’re ‘taxed’ £9.8m for rubbish
TAXPAYERS in Worcestershire are forking out record amounts in landfill charges – despite the amount of rubbish being buried in the ground falling rapidly.
Nearly £10 million in landfill ‘taxes’ went to the Government in 2012, compared to just £4.7 million in 2006, despite the amount of waste going to landfill actually dropping by a third over that period.
The Government has increased the eye-watering levies by £8 per tonne each year since 2008, meaning it has gone from £32 then to £72 this April.
Now, furious council chiefs say “enough is enough” and have revealed the onerous demands are starting to affect funding for key services.
Councillor Anthony Blagg, cabinet member for the environment, said: “The Government has decided to keep on increasing the tax and if it continues, it will end up astronomical.”
Worcestershire County Council is under major financial pressure and is currently cutting £20 million from spending every year to balance the books.
Although the tax costs are funded together with Herefordshire Council, as both authorities share waste disposal, they say the charges are hammering budgets.
The landfill tax figure is a total yearly bill both authorities have an obligation to meet together.
County Hall is planning to build a £120 million incinerator on land at Hartlebury, but the funding options are still up in the air and a likely opening date could be three years away.
Bosses are now backing calls from the Local Government Association (LGA) for landfill taxes to be capped.
Coun Blagg said: “It does affect what we can spend on other services and shows how important it is to convince people we need this incinerator - we’ve got to get away from landfill.
“We are diverting so much waste towards recycling but these taxes are still going up - the LGA is saying ‘enough is enough’ and we support that.”
The Government’s current timetable is for the landfill tax to continue to rise by £8 per tonne yearly in a bid to boost recycling rates and meet strict EU directives on reducing landfill.
An HM Treasury spokesman said: “Allowing local authorities to keep tax revenues such as those from landfill tax would have to come at the expense of existing grants.”
He added town halls get to keep council tax and from April, will benefit from keeping 50 per cent of business rates.
Worcester Green Party spokesman, Matthew Jenkins, said the figures show landfill tax “has worked” in discouraging the practise.
“As an incentive to recycle, it’s made a difference,” he said.
But Mike Jones, from the LGA’s environment board, said further increases should be avoided.
He said: “Landfill tax has played its part in encouraging us all to recycle, but any further increases would be misguided.”
The vast majority of rubbish is from homes, while a limited amount is from businesses which have agreements with the council.
PANEL - THE SURGE IN LANDFILL TAXES 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 Waste(ton) 262,352 233,169 212,699 195,378 182,339 182,729 174,749 Tax paid £4.7m £4.8m £5.1m £6.2m £7.2m £8m £9.8m * Figures are for Worcestershire and Herefordshire Differences (%) Waste: down 33.4% Tax: up 102.8%