Councillor calls for monthly direct debit option to allow struggling Northampton residents pay for brown bin service amidst cost of living crisis

"How can we say we understand how people are struggling but not help in this simple way?"

By Logan MacLeod
Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 4:53 pm

'Why can't residents pay for the brown bin waste collection service in Northampton via monthly direct debits?' asks councillor concerned with the cost of living crisis.

The £42-a-year subscription service kicked off on April 4 for those who want the council to empty their gardens bins fortnightly.

The scheme covers west Northamptonshire and those in the former south Northamptonshire district.

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Councillor Julie Davenport has called for a monthly direct debit option to allow struggling Northampton residents pay for the brown bin collection service.

However, Independent councillor Julie Davenport, of the Far Cotton and Delapre ward, has asked West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) if instead of paying the £42 lump sum, residents can pay a monthly direct debit of £3.50 over a 12-month period.

Councillor Davenport said: "How can we say we understand how people are struggling but not help in this simple way?

"As we all know, the cost of living is getting higher for people which is severely impacting those on very low incomes. Residents are telling me that they would love to have the facility of brown bin collections for all their garden waste, but they tell me that they cannot afford a 'one off' payment.

"WNC is only giving to households the monies that the Government has given to WNC. Where is WNC's contribution to the financial struggle that residents are facing? What are people supposed to do with all their garden waste if they cannot get to the recycling centres?

"Those in council (NPH) properties have to maintain 'their gardens' or be in breach of their contract but where is their garden waste supposed to go?

"On the one hand we say we understand how people are struggling but then we expect people to suddenly find £42 to pay for brown bin collections. At least they are willing to pay for it. Residents just need help to pay for it over the year. It will bring in more income for WNC if more people subscribe due to monthly payments."

In an email seen by Chronicle and Echo, a council cabinet member said to Cllr Davenport that WNC has not got the “IT system in place that will enable us to do what you and your residents are seeking at this moment in time”.

To which, Cllr Davenport replied: "If the IT system cannot allow a monthly payment, why not allow those on rent/tax benefit to receive the service free?”

The council says it is now “reviewing” payment methods.

A WNC spokesman said: “The council is currently reviewing payment methods for all services and will consider this issue as part of that review.”