I, LIKE the majority of your readers, do not receive an annual income increase of five per cent needed to pay for Wiltshire Council’s consistent increases in garden waste collection fees.
Thank you Councillor Terry Chivers for letting us know this year’s increase is from £42 to £44, an increase of 4.7 per cent following last year’s (2016/17) increase of five per cent to £42 – notice the pattern! 
Last year I wrote to Wiltshire Council to ask them why its increases exceeded inflation and its response said this: “Whilst we understand that inflation is one per cent and the annual inflation rate is 2.1 per cent, the legislation around charging for garden waste collections states ‘the authority may recover a reasonable charge for the collection of the waste from the person who made the request.’ 
“We interpret reasonable in this case as meaning a charge that only covers the cost of collections and have calculated £42 as sufficient to cover this. 
“Due to the unprecedented popularity of the service we have been forced to implement extra staff and vehicles, leading to an increase in costs from last year.
“These, coupled with the general increases in service costs, contribute to the five per cent increase in the annual fee. The income generated from this service is not funding other council services and is only being used to deliver the garden waste collection service.”
They are providing a service with ‘unprecedented popularity’ which must surely attract the economies of scale and have augmented the service with ‘extra staff and vehicles’ but still we see collection costs rise, even though public sector wages are largely capped at one per cent, the National Minimum Wage rose by 4.1 per cent and this year’s inflation is 1.6 per cent, so what is the justification for Wiltshire Council to increase its charges again? 
Perhaps it is not negotiating hard enough with service providers, or entering into longer-term contracts to stabilise cost increases or keeping its costs under control like we all have to do as local tax payers. Or maybe it is not investing in its personnel by training them in cost control, negotiating and control management so we can see these increases being a thing of the past.
David Bird