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£85 waste bill leaves me little to buy food

Readers' Letters | Published:

FINDING myself no longer able to work at the age of 63, due to physical issues, I live on a very tight budget, being on Income Support paid by the government of the island. I have received an invoice with a request to pay the sum of £85 for the removal of my rubbish – and the sum to be paid ASAP.

For myself that represents two weeks’ spending money for food. So I inquired if I would be able to receive any aid with this payment from Income Support. The answer was in the positive, but that will be paid out at the amount of £1.60 per week, which will give me the grand sum of £3.20 to feed myself on for a fortnight. Oh joy.

This on an island that sends hundreds of thousands of pounds to support the peoples of unknown countries whose governments are unwilling or unable to support their own population.

There is one further issue that I find somewhat difficult to understand and that is that there are 17 flats in the building that I live in, and they all have to pay £85, totalling £1,445 to remove rubbish from the same corner of the same car park.

Something is going badly wrong somehow.

NAME AND ADDRESS WITHHELD

Editor’s footnote: Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, president of Employment & Social Security, replies:

The income support rates for 2019 included additional allowances for the new pay as you throw stickers for general rubbish and the States’ £85 annual waste charge. The allowance for the annual charge is included in the maximum rent allowances.

This makes sense because the charge is the responsibility of the property owner, which for the majority of claimants will be their landlord, who is likely to seek to recoup it through the rent.

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Your correspondent appears to be the owner occupier of his flat. The income support assistance with the waste charge in this case is applied through a £1.63 per week addition to the allowance for rates. That accounts for the States’ annual charge, which is to cover some of the cost of processing and disposal of household waste and recycling.

There is also an allowance for the annual charge from the parish, which is for the waste and recycling collections.

We appreciate the difficulty in meeting a one-off bill of £85 when on very low income. Guernsey Waste has confirmed that if anyone is unable to pay in full, provided they contact customer services they can agree a payment plan.

The contact details are included in the bill. There are also plans to provide the option to pay in instalments by direct debit from next year.

Di Lihou

By Di Lihou
Editorial assistant

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