At the first meeting of his Cabinet the new leader of Greenwich Council Cllr Danny Thorpe is to consider plans to push up charges to residents for a range of services.
In a report on Fees and Charges across the Borough, one section reads: “Benchmarking across inner and all London Boroughs suggests that there is significant scope to increase income from Fees and Charges”. The report goes on to say that other London Boroughs raise a lot more than Greenwich does which I think allows us all to guess the way the Council is going in the future.
Having given us the overall picture, the Cabinet report then goes about “Environmental & Regulatory” charges in some depth – none of the other categories, just that one which seems to consist of “Waste / Environmental Health” services according to the report. Indeed it is even more curious when section 5.10 of the report states:
“However, whilst Boroughs will have different operating models, this benchmarking suggests that there could be more capacity to raise income from F&C across services, including from within Community Services and Environmental Health.”
I wonder if bin charges like that in Lewisham for garden waste or elsewhere for not recycling properly are on the way – indeed ‘environmental fines’ are mentioned (7.5) which sound ominous.
Of course I might be wrong in this assumption as the list of charges in the Appendix to this report is wide ranging, covering burials, bowls and football in addition to waste fees, so this could have a much bigger effect than even this quite direct report suggests.
Weirdly, the whole purpose of this review of charges seems to be undermined by the fact that the Council not only made £0.3m more on Fees and Charges than it expected last year, but elsewhere in the Cabinet papers is a report that the Council underspent against its budget by £0.4m.
So to summarise, Greenwich Council doesn’t seem to have spent all the money it received last year, raised more than it planned in charges to residents but is still planning on pushing charges up even further (in addition to raising Council Tax).
Interesting first move from Cllr Thorpe.
Charges – For the Many not the few.