Row breaks out at Burnley Town Hall over household waste spending

A political row has broken out at Burnley Council after the ruling coaltion voted down a Labour proposal to guarantee efficiency savings would be spent household waste recycling scheme.

Burnley Town Hall
Burnley Town Hall

The Labour group, which previously held control of the council before May's elections, put forward changes to ruling coalition party proposals for a new household waste recycling scheme that would have ring fenced efficiency savings for street cleaning and waste recycling and earmark cash for future local action on climate change.

However, the Labour proposals were voted down on the Liberal Democrat Mayor's casting vote, to the anger of Labour.

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Labour leader Coun. Mark Townsend said: "Clean streets and the impact of climate change are among the top priorities for residents and that’s why Labour are looking to allocate any available resources to projects in these areas.

"Unfortunately the ruling coalition voted the proposals down on the Mayor’s casting vote and allocated the cash to plug part of the black hole in the future finances instead. It’s Labour's view that savings to plug the financial black hole need to come from back office functions and not front line services and resident priorities.

"It’s Labour’s job as the largest party and a responsible opposition to do the right thing for the town as a whole and that’s just what we will continue to do."

However, Coun. Maggie Lishman, deputy leader of the council and executive member for Resources, accused Labour of playing irresponsible games.

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The Liberal Democrat said: "The work around the new recycling arrangements was done under the previous Labour administration. At no time did they make any suggestion that possible savings would be ring fenced. One priority for any savings may well be to consider widening the new scheme to include new parts of the borough - something that most Labour councillors want to see.

"Nor did the Labour administration ever mention a serious attempt to tackle climate change. It only came to the fore when we took over and proposed a cross-party working party of councillors from all parties to address what Burnley can do to tackle the climate change emergency. The council agreed to do that.

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"The new recycling scheme is yet to start being rolled out. There is sufficient time to ensure that any savings will be included in the budget discussions.

"Coun. Townsend has told us this time and time again that these are difficult times for local government. It was cheap politics and irresponsible of Labour to make this proposal."