Row over cash pledge to fund bin round cost

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SHEFFIELD Council has attacked the Government for ‘failing’ to guarantee funding which would cover the cost of retaining the city’s weekly bin collections.

The Labour-run authority is seeking assurance on what cash could be provided before it makes a decision on whether to cut the service to fortnightly in January to save up to £2.4 million a year.

In a letter to the council, Bob Neill, a junior minister in the Department for Communities and Local Government, said no specific funding has been allocated to Sheffield but the city would have to ‘bid’ for a share of £250 million available in the New Year.

Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “The Government have refused to commit to funding the cost of the weekly collection service in Sheffield, and it now looks like they have no real intention of doing this.

“It is very frustrating given that a grand announcement was made in September saying councils would be given the funding to protect weekly collections and we have heard nothing since this announcement.

“The cost of protecting weekly collections in Sheffield over five years is over £12 million but in their recent letter the Government failed to guarantee that a single penny of support would be given to Sheffield towards maintaining weekly collections.”

In his letter to Coun Bramall, Mr Neill said: “The £250 million fund is a challenge fund so local authorities need to bid for funding.

“We will announce further details about the scheme shortly and will publish the full bidding guidelines and invite bids in the New Year.

“Your details have been added to a database of councils which have expressed interest in this scheme and you will be contacted when information comes available.”

To receive funding, Sheffield must meet criteria set by the Government.

Sheffield Council had been due to decide on the future of household refuse collections last month but the matter was postponed.

The ruling Labour group fears the Government may ask it to maintain weekly collections for five years but only cover the cost for one year.