Not one single council, Labour Tory or Lib Dem, uses Eric Pickles’ £250 million fund to restore weekly bin rounds. The only local authority who considered move decided not to go ahead because it was too expensive. Stoke-on-Trent Council, which was awarded £14.3million from Mr Pickles’ bin collection fund , nowsays that ‘the money won’t cover service’ so has put the idea in the bin.

In opposition, David Cameron and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles repeatedly pledged to restore the ‘fundamental right’ to a weekly bin round and, on gaining power, unveiled a scheme encouraging councils to do so. Eric Pickles’ £250 million fund was meant to be used to allow local authorities to return to and support existing weekly collections – or invest in schemes that would benefit the environment, such as by raising recycling rates.

But Mr Pickles struggled to even convince the small number of councils that collect all bins weekly to carry on doing so – let alone persuade those who had axed them to ‘rethink’. Most of the bids submitted to his fund were aimed at improving recycling services. Now Stoke,the only council to sign up to the original plan to revert from fortnightly to weekly collections has decided to scrap the idea.

In several sets of local elections in Southport, the Conservatives election literature promised returning to weekly collections. However, Conservatives Councillors on Sefton Council never ever voted for weekly collections to be restored or included the item in their Council budget proposals. The idea has not been seen on a Tory leaflet locally for a number of years.

Mr Pickles is being attacked by opposition MPs for being full of hot air’ on the subject of bin-emptying. His Westminster nick-name is Grumpy Bin-Laden.

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