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Pickles launches £250m weekly bins fund

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A £250m pot has been made available to help English councils keep or restore weekly bin collections, communities secretary Eric Pickles has announced.

Councils which commit to retain or reinstate weekly waste collections for at least five years will be able to apply for support to improve their rubbish collection service, a Conservative party statement said.

The weekly collections support scheme is being funded by the Department of Communities & Local Government.

More than half of English councils run some form of fortnightly collection.

Mr Pickles said: “Weekly rubbish collections are the most visible of all front-line services and I believe every household in England has a basic right to have their rubbish collected every week.

“Our fund will help councils deliver weekly collections and in the process make it easier for families to go green and improve the local environment.”

Local Government Association chairman Sir Merrick Cockell (Con) welcomed the news and told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme all councils would assess the efficiency of their rubbish collection and recycling schemes.

The move follows Mr Pickles admitting this summer it is was up to councils to decide how often they collect their waste and government will not impose a requirement to return to weekly bin collections.

New Local Government Network director Simon Parker said that at a time when councils are facing deep spending cuts, the decision to find cash for weekly bin collections looked “a little eccentric”.

He said “The £250m of new money announced today is the equivalent of a year’s worth of residential or nursing care for 9,335 elderly people.

“With social care costs going through the roof, most councils would prefer that CLG’s money had been spent on looking after the vulnerable, rather than on providing extra waste collections which many residents are prepared to do without.”

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