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Councillor Davod Harrison

Conservative Agreement Put Through The Shredder

Shredded Paper
Shredded Paper

Most people have little idea what goes on behind the scenes in local government, but they do simply “trust” that local authorities get their jobs done, use money wisely and work together in the best interests of the communities the serve.

Allow me then to lift the lid on the next scandalous waste of public money which might involve the Conservative run New Forest District Council having to take legal action against Conservative controlled Hampshire County Council.

For over twenty years there has been a “Memorandum of Understanding” between HCC and the District & Borough Councils that ensured there was co-operation between the local authorities that collect household waste, (such as NFDC) and HCC, the authority responsible for disposing of it.

The system worked well because it encouraged the District authorities to maximise recycling and thus reduce the waste that HCC had to dispose of.

The agreement involved about £8 million in recycling credits and other payments, providing New Forest District Council alone with about £800,000 a year which it invested in waste collection.

Shockingly, Conservatives at Hampshire County Council have put the Memorandum of Understanding through the shredder and announced that they are no longer going to pay the District & Boroughs any of the money.

The Conservatives are saying it was only an agreement and has no legal basis, so they don’t feel any obligation to continue with what was agreed and had worked for over two decades.

As you might imagine, the District & Boroughs, (also struggling with budgets and in some cases (NFDC included), poor recycling performance, are none too pleased with the announcement and are getting together to see how to respond, including the possibility of joint legal action against Hampshire County Council.

This puts some local Conservative Councillors in a difficult position because they are both District & County members.

It means they will be taking legal action against themselves at the public expense!

Naturally, officers are trying to avoid this situation.

Clearly it undermines what you often hear from politicians that we “must all work together for the wider community benefit”.

The Liberal Democrats will be pushing both tiers of government to work together and deliver a waste collection and disposal service for residents that is efficient and environmentally sound.

We will strongly resist any proposals that involve expensive legal action.

Once again, I am offering my services to help mediate and sort things out.


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