Sunday, 9 January 2011
According to the media and fellow bloggers, refuse collection has become exactly that for some weeks - councils refuse to collect it. The main excuse is the snow, but in some places like Birmingham, the refuse collectors are also working to rule and thus the problem is exacerbated. Hundreds of councils have not collected rubbish and nearer home Edinburgh hasn't escaped either.
Most regular readers will know I stay in a rural area in Perthshire. We've had more than our fair share of snow here - in fact another 2 inches have fallen overnight to accompany the 2 inches which fell on friday night - but since I've lived here never once has my rubbish not been collected on the date marked on the Collection Calendar we receive each year from the council. I've never heard anyone utter anything other than complimentary remarks about our binmen. Yesterday I remarked to a friend we were lucky to have such a service. "Lucky?" she replied indignantly, "we're not lucky. We're provided with the quality of service we pay for". Suitably reprimanded I realised she was right. Council tax pays for the basic services of refuse collection, street lighting, road maintenance with a few other services like libraries, which we do need, thrown in and other services like event organisers, which we don't need. The water charges pay for clean water. Not a lot to ask. Like all other councils mine is good at wasting money too but that's another story.
Reading about the plight of many I was forced to agree with Richard's analysis of why the people who serve us just don't give a damn anymore. (Perhaps I should qualify that by saying many of the people, giving my experience of my binmen). It was my intention to expand on his article but I notice it's been done much more eloquently elsewhere.
If we want quality services we have to unite and rebel against poor standards. We must stop accepting the old adage of 'funding' being the problem for everything. Funding obviously isn't a problem in my council; certainly not in the refuse collection department - or environmental services I think they prefer it to be called these days. Their service is excellent throughout the year. We only have ourselves to blame if council services are not of an acceptable standard.