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Publication date:- 2017-02-17

user-generated Headlines and reports on this page = 4 news items.    Page - 7.

Crackdown on irresponsible environmental crime in Liverpool

MAYOR of Liverpool Joe Anderson has announced a drive to crackdown on illegal dumping and targeting residents that do not recycle responsibly.

A report approved by Cabinet, on Friday, 17 February 2017, has recommended a number of steps to improve the recycling rate of 33%. It includes the introduction of larger recycling sacks, an expansion of weekly recycling services for City Centre apartment blocks, piloting weekly recycling, work to repair and upgrade the 4 foot alleyways serving 28,000 terraced properties and doubling the number of teams tackling flytipping.

In addition, the Mayor has asked for an emphasis on tackling residents who choose not to recycle or manage their waste in a responsible way, or who let their dogs foul the streets.

It is estimated that 21,000 tonnes of recyclable goods are needlessly going to landfill each year because residents are placing it in a purple bin or black sacks rather than the blue recycling bin. Every tonne of residual waste from the purple bins costs twice as much to treat as recyclable waste, meaning an additional bill of around £1.2 million per year for Council Tax payers.

Mayor Anderson said:- "While we have made huge progress on improving recycling over the last few years, responsible citizens are being undermined by some residents who are putting waste in the wrong bin. We recently had a case in Old Swan where an entire day's recycling collections were so contaminated with non-recyclable items that the load was rejected at the recycling plant. Instead, it had to be sent to landfill, doubling the cost of processing and disposing of the waste and hitting Council Tax payers in the pocket. This example shows how the efforts of all the residents who do the right thing can be undermined by the minority who choose not to.  We have a challenging recycling target of 55% to hit by 2020 and so we have to think creatively about what we can do. Can we reward those residents that let us know who is flytipping, whose dogs are fouling our streets and or are not recycling properly? Should we look at making it compulsory to recycle? We need to look seriously at these measures and more to encourage and reward civic pride.  I have asked Officers to come up with a series of enforcement measures that we can use to drive the required change in behaviour in those residents that fail to responsibly manage their waste and for the Cabinet member to bring a report setting out in detail the steps we will take to tackle poor waste management and other environmental crime."


►  33% of waste is recycled in Liverpool (2016/17)

►  The 18,000 tonnes of green waste collected (2016/17)

►  The
21,000 tonnes of recyclable items wrongly placed in the purple bins, every year.

►  The 28,000 houses who receive a weekly black sack collection.

► The
196,000 houses who are receiving an alternate weekly collection of purple and blue bins.

Concern at new restrictions on VAT relief for disabled people buying cars

THE Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) is concerned at a Tax change which could increase the costs for disabled people of changing their motor vehicle and leave them unable to change to a more suitable vehicle.

From 1 April 2017, the Government will restrict the availability of 0 rate VAT for the purchase of adapted motor vehicles for eligible disabled users, to 1 car every 3 years. It says there has been abuse of this relief in the past, with some people purchasing numerous adapted vehicles in a single year, removing the adaptations and then selling the vehicles on for a profit.

Instead of restricting the relief to tackle the Tax abuse and, as a result, potentially raising the cost of motor vehicle ownership for some disabled people who genuinely need it, LITRG suggests HMRC should improve the administration of the existing relief by gathering and matching data from car dealers and licensing authorities, using modern technology and then taking compliance action. This could be largely automated to avoid putting much strain on HMRC's staff resources.

Anthony Thomas, LITRG Chairman, said:- "We welcome the relaxations that are planned within the new rules, but these do not go far enough to stop the lifestyle of genuine users of this important Tax Relief being adversely affected. We particularly question why there will be an exception to the restrictions if a person's condition changes, but not for life changes. It seems unduly harsh that a disabled person should be denied Tax Relief on the extra costs they incur when changing their motor vehicle, for instance in a simple situation such as their family having grown so that they require a larger vehicle. To deny the relief in circumstances such as a baby arriving would seem to be inequitable."

LITRG is also hugely concerned at the lack of a right of appeal within the new provisions, thus making HMRC sole judge of whether a vehicle continues to be suitable relative to the disabled user's condition. The group questions whether HMRC staff have the expertise to make such judgements. It is also concerning that the user will be required to disclose potentially intrusive personal information in order that HMRC can make that judgement.

Anthony Thomas said:- "The proposals seem very much like a blunt instrument to prevent abuse, but regretfully may equally prevent genuine users from obtaining relief; either because they do not qualify, or because the rules are so complex that they think they do not qualify or perhaps even the threat of a penalty for getting it wrong puts them off." 

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