Council eyes charge for bin assistance amid ‘difficult times’

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People who have difficulty putting their bin out could be charged for bin men and women lending a helping hand.

No stone is being left unturned in one of the most difficult budgets for years at Argyll and Bute Council. Among the many drastic measures on the table to save money are a number of schemes to bring in cash – one of which is a proposed £100 per year charge for ‘assisted bin pull-outs’.

Concerned at the prospect, disabled Lochgilphead resident Mark Carter submitted a freedom of information request to the council to ask how many elderly and disabled people use the service.

Argyll and Bute Council replied that 1,251 people use assisted bin collection in the region, including 58 in Lochgilphead.

‘What the council is planning on doing is actually making money out of disabled people,’ said Mr Carter.

He continued: ‘All it will do is put the responsibility on to carers to do it and carers are under enough pressure already. It’s just crazy.’

Councillor Dougie Philand said: ‘Targeting the elderly and disabled in the council cuts this year is to be condemned. Assisted bin uplifts are vital to those who find difficulty in placing their bins ready for uplift and the revenue it will generate is an insult to those who suffer the most.’

An Argyll and Bute spokesperson responded: ‘These are difficult times. Over the past 10 years we have delivered £57m savings and have an estimated budget gap next year of £9.2 million.

‘We therefore have to look at a range of things as part of our budget savings. No decisions will be made until the council meets to set its budget.’

The council is due to set its budget for the coming financial year on February 27 – though that process was made no easier after Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid this week said he would not announce the UK budget until March 11.

Argyll and Bute Council leader Aileen Morton said: ‘It is concerning to see this latest announcement of national government timescales as it introduces uncertainty and makes everyone’s job much harder.

‘It is the Scottish Government that provides the majority of our funding so we really need to know as soon as possible when we will receive confirmation of our funding from April onwards.’