Looking again at the Brent Budget proposals, I thought I would return to the proposed charge for bulky item collection. I can see some logic to this, in that the Council is increasingly seeking to charge service users as close as possible to the cost of the service provided. The free service can therefore be seen as something of an anomaly.
Nonetheless I have repeatedly argued that the free service is better preserved. My key argument in this is that the items are likely to be otherwise dumped on the street. Under the L:iberal Democrats, the introduction of the £25 charge for collecting bulky items led to a huge fall in collections. I never got a satisfactory answer to where these items went once the Council stopped collecting them for free.
It also illustrates the difficulties behind some of the figures in budget proposals. The charge never yielded anything like the income expected, because the number of collections had dropped so much. This is important to bear in mind when thinking about all the officer proposals.